There is no change in Greece’s policy on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), stated Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis in response to a question posed by main opposition New Democracy MP for foreign policy issues Giorgos Koumoutsakos in parliament on Thursday.
“We seek to strengthen regional cooperation in the Balkans, we cultivate stable relations of friendship and promote cooperation with all the neighbouring countries, as well as stability and the people’s prosperity,” said Amanatidis.
Referring to the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), the minister said that “it is a Greek initiative” relating to 13 sectors and noted that it was at ND’s disposal. Referring to an upgrade of the Florina-Monastiri rail link – one of the CBMs in question – Amanatidis said that a tender was in progress and the aim was to complete the project by the end of 2018.
“The purpose of CBMs is to establish a climate of trust and to strengthen cooperation and we believe that this will contribute and facilitate the efforts for a sustainable and mutually acceptable solution to the name issue. We will continue to work systematically on this course for a sustainable and mutually acceptable solution within the context of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations,” added Amanatidis.
The minister also clarified that “the country (FYROM) has a lot of ground to cover given that the previous governments performed particularly badly in this area.”
On his part, Koumoutsakos said that the Greek government appeared to be focusing all its efforts on CBMs when “the main issue in our relations remains the name dispute, where we do not see any progress.” He asked the government to brief the opposition parties on the results and what CBMs have been agreed.