Alternate Foreign Minister Yorgos Katrougalos expressed optimism that Athens and Skopje can finally reach a compromise on the FYROM name issue.

He said that this solution will be in the national interest and will satisfy not only Defense Minister Panos Kammenos – the junior partner in the ruling coalition who objects to any use of the name Macedonia by Skopje – but opposition parties as well.

Katrougalos said that it was main opposition New Democracy which failed to resolve the issue when it was in power in 1991. Constantine Mitsotakis, the late father of the current ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was prime minister at the time.

Today, he said, New Democracy is trying to cover up its intra-party divisions over the FYROM naming matter, as there is staunch disagreement by what he called the far right wing of ND.

“This is why he [Mitsotakis] says that he will vote for no settlement without prior agreement between the ruling coalition partners,” he said.

Katrougalos underlined that 134 countries already recognise FYROM by its constitutional name, which is Republic of Macedonia.

In a recent interview, Katrougalos maintained that he favours a composite name, which he said would put an end to the naming issue being used as a vehicle for FYROM’s irredentism.

He also predicted that Kammenos will not block any comprehensive settlement agreed to by the two sides.

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