Greek Foreign Ministry responds to Russian commentary on Prespes Agreement

The citation of political developments in the domestic affairs of friendly countries by the Russian Foreign Ministry “overlooks the coordinated and effective democratic function of institutions in Greece,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said, in response to statements that the decision for a name change of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was “imposed from the outside.”

According to a commentary by the Russian government cited by Tass news agency, the decision of FYROM’s parliament to change the country’s name was “imposed from outside with an aim of pulling Skopje into NATO as soon as possible.” The Russian ministry also claimed the decision was pushed through by Athens and would undermine stability in the region, as seen already in the resignation of defence minister Panos Kammenos.

In its response, the Greek Foreign Ministry said that the Greek constitution “has explicit regulations to manage every possible event in domestic political order, which (area) undoubtedly does not lend itself to comments by third parties.” It said this intervention by Russia “does not befit the level of relations enjoyed by Greece and Russia and with the historical ties of friendship between the two peoples.”

The ministry also called on Greece’s international allies to “respect the spirit and letter of the Agreement and to applaud the fact that the political leadership of both countries (Greece and FYROM) had the necessary political courage to reach the resolution of a specially thorny issue, defending at the same time their own national interests.”

The Prespes Agreement will help establish stability and peace in the Balkans, it said, and provides an international model for resolving differences under the aegis of the United Nations without third-party interventions.

“Russia, which has recognised FYROM for a long time as ‘Republic of Macedonia’ will now respect the sensitivities of the Greek people in the use of the name ‘Macedonia’, from now on calling this country with its new constitutional name, ‘(Republic of) North Macedonia’, but most of all will refrain from similar statements that constitute an intervention in the domestic affairs of Greece,” the ministry concluded.