Greece could become the “staunched ally and friend” of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia provided the name issue between the two countries is resolved, said Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos in a speech addressed to the United Nations 67th General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
The name issue, said Avramopoulos, was “an important piece in the puzzle of putting to rest irredentist notions and attempts to rewrite history in our region.”
Greece, said the Foreign Minister believes in a “fair settlement” resulting in a name with a “geographical qualifier» given that Macedonia is a geographical region that overlaps the territories of Greece, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
“When we resolve this issue, we will be able to realize the vast potential in our relations, to our mutual benefit, and Greece will be the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s staunchest ally and friend in its efforts to realize its Euroatlantic aspirations,” said the Greek foreign minister.
Avramopoulos also raised the Cyprus issue, noting that Greece supported the efforts carried out by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus in pursuing negotiations with Turkish Cypriots under the UN umbrella aimed at the island’s reunification.
“However, after 38 years, the division of the island continues and the results of the talks have been disappointing, due to Turkish-Cypriot intransigence to engage in constructive talks,” he said. “We applaud Cyprus’ decision to act on its sovereign right to exploit the natural gas deposits in its exclusive economic zone.”
Avramopoulos was one of many international leaders and officials delivering speeches at the UN Assembly’s General Debate which ends on October 1.