Kotzias on name issue: “We’ve done so much work, Dimitrov and I, it would be a pity if it came to nothing”

UN Special Envoy for the name issue Matthew Nimetz will meet in Athens with the foreign ministers of Greece Nikos Kotzias and FYROM Nikola Dimitrov on May 12, Kotzias said on Friday at the conclusion of the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and FYROM in Thessaloniki.

Kotzias and Dimitrov met over the FYROM name issue and looked at alternative solutions, as the Greek FM said. “We have done so much work, my friend Dimitrov and I, these past few months, it would be a pity if it all came to nothing,” Kotzias responded to a question on the prospects of an agreement. He added the two ministers will go to the very end in the search for a solution. “We say we are seeing each other more often than we see our families,” he quipped.

Asked if they had reached agreement on an “erga omnes” name, the Greek FM said that when that happens, he “will throw a party.” He also called on FYROM’s leadership to back down on some of its demands, just as Greece had done. “We had the courage to back down, they should also do the same,” he added.

Kotzias said that Friday’s meeting came up with several alternatives, which they will share with each respective country’s politicians. “If we end up with any of these, circumstances will allow for talks at higher levels,” he noted.

On the incident in the Aegean on Friday morning, during which a Turkish merchant vessel entered Greek territorial waters and hit a Greek coast guard boat, Kotzias said that he directed that Greece call on Turkey to observe international law.

In terms of Albania, the Greek FM said after a meeting with his counterpart Ditmir Bushati that they are “close to an agreement” on issues that remained unresolved between the two countries for decades. He said that an agreement is expected in early June, while the issue of delimiting maritime zones with Albania is expected to be resolved by the end of May.