Did Greece block Skopje's accession to NATO in April 2008? Does Greece violate the 1995 interim agreement and undermine the prospect of a settlement concerning the name of FYROM? Or is FYROM responsible for the deadlock, abusing Greek symbols such the sun of Vergina, creating false roots to cling to a past it does not own and cultivating the illusion in its citizens that "Macedonia" reaches all the way to the Aegean?
Will Greece, by tomorrow December 5, be obliged to consent to Skopje’s entry into NATO and the EU against its will? Is it then possible for a court to force Greece to grant sovereignty to the neighbors who appropriate Greek history?
Japanese Hisashi Owada will answer these questions at 11 am on Monday, December 5 in Hague. This judge, unknown to Greeks, is the president of the International Court of Justice and the man who will announce the verdict of the 15 "wise men" of the International Court.
This will complete the three-year court battle between Greece and Skopje launched on November 17, 2008, when FYROM appealed to the ICJ accusing Athens of violating paragraph 1 of Article 11 of the Interim Agreement by requiring judges to compel Greece never to bring any more objections to their entry into international organizations.
The contents of the decision
Information indicates that the decision of the 15 judges will be favorable for Skopje and a slap in the face for Greece, since the Hague Tribunal will decide that the then government of Kostas Karamanlis did not consent to the admission of Skopje into NATO in 2008, which is translated as a violation of the Interim Agreement.
The question is what the judges will decide at the request of FYROM to force Greece never to bear any objections to their inclusion in international multilateral organizations. If the Court vindicates Skopje, it will impose on the Greek side the humiliating condition of changing its policy.
The absurdity of all this is that Skopjans argue that the alleged violation of the Interim Agreement is irrelevant (!) to the difference between the two countries on the name issue.
If, directly or indirectly, the 15 judges accept the unprecedented premise of Skopje, they will clash with NATO and EU decisions that have repeatedly declared that FYROM cannot join these organizations without first reaching a mutually acceptable solution with Greece on the name issue.
At this critical juncture of the completion of a court battle with Skopje, the U.S. vice president Joe Biden will be in Greece on an official visit. And at the time when Biden will be entering the presidential palace for talks with Papoulias, the International Court of Justice in Hague will be officially announcing its decision.
It is obvious that even a mere mention by the American vice president is capable of creating impressions and showing the winners of the judicial controversy.
Besides, in the next seven days Greek diplomacy will need to make subtle and skillful maneuvers. While the verdict will be announced in Hague, foreign minister Stavros Dimas will be at the General Affairs Council in Brussels. Dimas will have to face those "well-wishing" colleagues who want to appear as patrons of Skopje at the NATO foreign ministers' meeting and the OSCE ministerial meeting, which FYROM is a member of.