Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Wednesday called for “realism, pragmatism and the realization that we have to make compromises” in the name dispute with Skopje.
Kotzias was speaking in Belgrade as part of a tour of Balkan states this week. Addressing reporters during a joint news conference with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, Kotzias dismissed what he called “rotten compromises but the kinds where both sides stand to gain”.
“And compromise means that both sides must realize that they cannot have everything, that both sides must have gains. I hope that this is understood by all sides in the negotiations and that we have good developments,” he added.
Ducic said Belgrade’s decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as ‘Macedonia’ in 1996 had been a mistake.
Tensions between Belgrade and Skopje have been rising since last December when FYROM premier Zoran Zaev said he would support Kosovo’s bid to join UNESCO – infuriating Belgrade which does not recognize the independence of its former province.
Kotzias said Greece would not change its non-recognition of Kosovo and insisted it would deal with the country through an economic and commercial affairs bureau in Athens, not a diplomatic mission. He is scheduled to go to Pristina on Thursday for official talks. Greece is one of five EU countries which does not recognize Kosovo.
Meanwhile, FYROM’s parliament is debating a no-confidence motion against the government of Zoran Zaev, accusing it of failing to stop corruption or Skopje’s economic downturn.