Government spokeman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that the government “sharply disagrees” with the message of the recent, massive rallies in Thessaloniki and Athens, calling on the government to reject signing any settlement with Skopje that includes the word Macedonia in FYROM’s name.

“We hear the message of the demonstration, but we sharply disagree,” Tzanakopoulos said, stressing that any settlement on the name of Greece’s northern neighbor will necessarily include the name Macedonia.

The two sides have both publicly agreed to a composite name, which will attach a geographic marker to the name Macedonia. Gorna (Upper) Macedonia (which Greece prefers written as Gorna Makedonija, in a transliteration from the Slavic), is considered the most likely possibility at the moment.

“The negotiations have a momentum, but the presupposition is the change in the irredentist references in the [FYROM] Constitution,” Tzanakopoulos told Skai television in Athens.

“The view that the name Macedonia should be removed from FYROM’s name could be interpreted as an intransigent position by our partners, and it would be difficult to explain this to them,” the government spokesman said.

FYROM proceeds with renaming airport, roads

Yesterday, the FYROM Government Gazzete published the 6 February cabinet meeting decision to rename Skopje’s Alexander the Great Airport as Skopje International Airport, and to rename the national highway that leads to the FYROM-Greece borders as Friendship Highway, replacing the current name, which is Alexander the Great Highway.

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