Us Vice President Mike Pence has intervened in the Macedonia name negotiations and called Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, on Saturday. Pence urged Tsipras for a solution to the Macedonia name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, taking into consideration the time pressure.
A statement released by the White House said Pence expressed appreciation on efforts to resolve the dispute and urged Tsipras to continue efforts with his FYROM counterpart, Zoran Zaef. However, the Us administration called Zaef, “Macedonian PM”.
“Vice President Mike Pence spoke today with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to express appreciation for his leadership, along with that of Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, on efforts towards resolving the longstanding name dispute. They agreed that the parties have an historic opportunity to resolve this issue and that time is of the essence. The Vice President encouraged Prime Minister Tsipras to continue working with Prime Minister Zaev on a mutually-acceptable agreement. Resolution of this issue would promote stability and peace in the region,” the white House statement read.
Mike Pence stressed that he supports the efforts of UN Special Envoy on Macedonia name issue, Mathew Nimetz.
Spoke to Greek PM @tsipras_eu today. Thanked him for his leadership, along w/ Macedonian PM Zaev, on efforts towards resolving longstanding name dispute. Historic opportunity. Hope both parties can reach mutually acceptable agreement & promote peace & stability in region.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 19, 2018
PM Tsipras reiterated to Pence Greece’s position on the issue, which is a mutually accepted name that has to be used erga omnes, that is untranslated by all countries and all purposes.
Speaking at a meeting of SYRIZA on Saturday Tsipras said “We are working for a solution that will not be fragile and will not collapse in a few months, which will not affect the dignity and the history of both peoples.”
He noted “we did not change our positions despite the pressure” and reiterated the Greek government’s position for compound name with geographical or time designation and against all (erga omnes). “We are close but the last steps to be covered are the most difficult ones” he added.
Meanwhile, both the government and the opposition parties have rejected the latest name proposal tabled by Zaef earlier this week. In a statement issued by the Prime minister’s office on Saturday, Athens rejects the proposed name “Republic of Ilinden Macedonia” -Republika Ilindenska Makedonija – and urges Skopje to work on the names proposed by Nimetz.
Government and opposition parties in FYROM have reportedly agreed on Ilinden Macedonia and erga omnes but so far not on Greece’sdemand on constitutional changes.
Washington has a strong interest in a solution as it will enable FYROM’s accession to NATO and presses for a solution by early summer. Greece has rejected such an option without name solution.
PS If the US already considers Zaef “Macedonian PM” no need for name negotiations then, right?