“There is no other Macedonia but ours,” Prime Minister of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Zoran Zaev said in an interview to FYROM’s state agency MIA on Friday afternoon.
“The northern part of Greece is Greece, the western part of Bulgaria is Bulgaria. This is our Macedonia and there will be no other in the world,” he was quoted by FYROM’s news agency.
Zoran’s provocative statement was aiming to convince diaspora FYROMians to vote in favor of the referendum on September 30.
But it triggered an outrage in Athens as it was clearly violating the Prespes Agreement.
Although there was was no official reaction in Athens, diplomatic sources told media “we understand that Zaev might need to exaggerate a bit in order to win the referendum but he cannot say things that undermine the good atmosphere and the Agreement,” media reported.
Main opposition New Democracy issued a statement sharply criticizing the government for the Prespes Agreement and saying “Zaev’s statement shows the real impact of the Prespes Agreement which ND tries to reverse in any way.”
Fofi Gennimata, leader Movement of Change (KINAL?PASOK) said “Zaev spoke of one and only Macedonia. The agreement does not settle old issues, it creates new ones.”
Greek media reported that the government intervened on diplomatic level and late on Friday MIA news agency corrected Zaev’s statement to:
“a part of the geopolitical region Macedonia is in Greece, a part is in Bulgaria and the northern part is in our country. No one will ever try to deny our Macedonia. The Adjective ‘North’ makes a distinction and we reaffirm that there are regions in Bulgaria and in Greece which are called Macedonia.”
Last week Greece complained that Zaev violates the Prespes Agreement by using the name “Macedonia” instead of “North Macedonia.”
Defense Minister and Tsipras’ junior coalition government partner Panos Kammenos revealed that the Greek Prime Minister had called Zaef and told him that he violates the Agreement.
Kammenos is a fierce opponent of the Agreement and has threatened several time to step down if the agreement comes to the Parliament
Yesterday, Friday, Tsipras and Kammenos met and agreed to not let the Prespes Agreement to harm the government work and revisit the issue in March next year.
MIA Zaev 1. quote
MIA Zaev Corrected version