Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Monday after the EU Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels, that the protests which took place in Thessaloniki on Sunday will not influence the government’s negotiations with FYROM over the name dispute.
“The turnout at the rally was an expression of the democratic function of Greek democracy, and an expression of distress for many Greeks who sometimes wrongly equate negotiations over the name with the fate of Greek Macedonia, and it was a rally that further develops the forms of public discourse, sometimes rightly, sometimes not.”
“I do not believe that the rally exerts any influence over the negotiations for the issue of FYROM’s name and irredentism. Any expression that condemns irredentism serves supportively,” but in terms of the name issue, “this will be resolved on the basis of future prospects of stability and security in the area, the role of Greek diplomacy, and the need for Greece to play a leading role in the area.”
Hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered around Aristotelous in Thessaloniki on Sunday along with thousands on Monday in Melbourne Australia to protest the rumoured inclusion of the term ‘Macedonia’ in the proposed name for FYROM.
Despite the protestations, the Greek government is insisting on a compound name without clarifying whether it will be a ‘closed’ or ‘open’ compound name.
“The solution must be a compound name with geographic or time qualifier for use in relations to everyone, so that it’s completely clear that nobody is claiming the territory or the history of other peoples and all irredentist prospects are ruled out” Said government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos.
“This is the only responsible stance that establishes Greece’s position as a power that guarantees stability and cooperation among the people of the wider region. A destabilised region that must, at last, leave behind the disputes of the past and enter into a period of joint growth and prosperity,” he added.