In an interview with FAZ on the eve of the signing of the accord, North Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev says it is a win-win situation, though problems may arise.
'The agreement provides for the creation of a task force that will be called upon to thrash out these issues. We have some people in Greek Macedonia who do not support the Prespa Agreement but who for many years traded here [in North Macedonia]. They are hypocrites,” Tsipras declared.
The Guardian’s report also referred to the widespread popular disapproval of the accord in both countries and that the two leaders are touting the trade and other benefits that they say will result from the normalisation of the two countries’ relations.
On the crucial economic front, Zaev said that North Macedonia will have enormous benefits from the implementation of the Prespa Accord.
Despite being pressured by the moderator and Zaev to say whether his party will honour the agreement if it comes to power, the main opposition leader refused to answer.
Recent comments by Zaev have fueled criticism that the agreement permits Skopje to interpret it as it sees fit.
PM Alexis Tsipras, beyond his 145 MPs, has secured the approval of six MPs from smaller parties to ratify the accord.
Zaev has offered assurances – in an effort to calm Greek fears of backpedaling - that the agreement cannot change in the future.
Tsipras and his SYRIZA party have been outwardly optimistic about garnering the necessary simple majority of 151 votes in the 300-seat legislature,
“As President of Bulgaria, I do not agree with the name ‘Northern Macedonia’. There is no such country. That name cannot be adopted." said Rumen Radev.
In Larissa, Kammenos said that he will pull out of the government if the Parliament of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia finalises the constitutional amendments required by the Prespa accord on 15 January.
The PM’s remarks were widely viewed as a bid to calm the public and MPs who were positive about ratifying the accord but expressed second thoughts.
Neither Athens nor Skopje confirmed reports that Greece wants to add under UN auspices a protocol clarifying the correct interpretation of the accord’s provisions on language.
Greece has a strong identity and knows how to behave calmly and prudently in the Balkan tinderbox.
'The government and the prime minister can no longer stand on sidelines as passive observers. They have a duty, even now, to assume their responsibilities,' said ND's shadow foreign minister.
Zaev himself essentially put on the table an issue of a “Macedonian minority” in Greece.
When FYROM citizens refer to 'Macedonians of the Aegean', they refer directly to an irredentist tradition that views the geographically largest part of Macedonia, which is the northern province of Greece, as an unliberated territory, essentially as a Greek-occupied part of their country.
Alternate Foreign Minister Yorgos Katrougalos responds to FYROM PM Zoran Zaev’s remark that in the future the 'Macedonian language' may be taught in Greek schools.
Allegations that the US spent two million dollars to secure votes in FYROM’s parliament to back the Prespa Agreement must be answered by the US Ambassador
'Since the referendum was consultative, and not mandatory, it is now up to the Members of Parliament, chosen by the people, to make a decision respecting and following the interests of the citizens, the country and their personal duty,' Zaev told Ta Nea in an exclusive interview.
The minutes of meetings in FYROM reveal that Tsipras and Kotzias had agreed for FYROM to be renamed “Republic of Ilinden Macedonia”, and yet the government has gone on the offensive on issues of minor significance.
'Over 650,000 citizens voted in the referendum supported [the name change]. Over 90 percent supported [the name change], and believe that the country must accept the agreement with Greece and become a member of Nato and the European Union,' Zaev said.
Laura Cooper, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, says Moscow is paying voters to abstain from the referendum
'I made this compromise, which is similar to a chest pain, because it is the only way for us to move forward,' said FYROM's prime minister