Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias due in Skopje for historic visit on Thursday

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will leave for a historic visit to Skopje on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by a Greek delegation and journalists. It will be the first direct flight by a Greek government mission to Skopje’s airport in 12 years, which was recently renamed Skopje International Airport from Alexander the Great Airport.

Kotzias will have a working dinner tonight with his FYROM counterpart, Nikola Dimitrov, and on Friday will have a series of meetings and negotiations with the political leadership of the country and opposition parties.

Initially, the Greek foreign minister will hold talks with Dimitrov, followed by a joint press conference.

Kotzias will then meet FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Deputy Prime Minister responsible for EU relations, Bujar Osmani. There will also be meetings with FYROM Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi, the leader of the DUI Albanian party Ali Ahmeti, as well as the head of the main opposition VMRO-DPMNE party Hristijan Mickoski.

This visit by the Greek foreign minister is expected to provide a first tangible indication of the progress made in the negotiations to find a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue. The Greek side has already sent its proposal to Skopje, as agreed by the Greek and FYROM prime ministers in Davos.

However, the picture is expected to emerge more clearly next week on Friday, during a meeting scheduled to take place in Vienna between the two foreign ministers and UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz.