Greek Opposition Rejects ‘Republic of Ilinden Macedonia’ Proposal

Greece’s opposition parties have unanimously rejected the proposal tabled by Skopje to adopt the name “Republic of Ilinden Macedonia” as a compromise solution to the decades-old naming dispute.

As premier Alexis Tsipras made a round of calls on Saturday to brief political leaders and the President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos of the state of negotiations with Macedonia, the opposition expressed fears that the proposal is irredentist, in that it implies territorial claims on Greece.

Although there was no official reaction to the proposal, Greek media report that Tsipras is seriously considering it.

Tsipras: We want a viable solution

Meeting President Pavlopoulos, Tsipras said that we are at a crucial stage in the negotiations with Macedonia over the reaching of a mutually accepted solution.

He noted that we defend a line which has been formed for over two decades and is supported by the majority of the political forces, not all, but of the majority, mostly those that have, in the past, dealt with crucial national issues.

We want to have a solution that will be viable”.

And it would also be a mutually accepted compound name that will be erga omnes, (used inside and outside the country).

This of course requires the review of Macedonia’s constitution and change of its constitutional name which will lead to guarantees for the abolition of any kind of irredentism in order the obstacles between the two neighboring countries to disappear, Tsipras said.

Opposition rejects proposal

This name is historically and directly related to the pursuit of the creation of a ‘Macedonian’ nation and state that includes Thessaloniki and extends to the Aegean,” said main opposition New Democracy in a statement.

The reference to the Ilinden uprising in the name of Macedonia “confirms and strengthens Skopje’s irredentism. It is unacceptable to even discuss the proposal,” the statement reads.

Fofi Gennimata, leader of the centrist Movement for Change, described the proposal as “the epitome of the return of irredentism” and asked for assurances that the Greek government has not started negotiations in this context.

Leader of the Centrist Union, Vassilis Leventis said that he is opposed to any name that includes the term “Macedonia,” while leader of the Communist Party Dimitris Koutsoumbas stressed that the proposal is “the worst of all available options.”

Earlier, government sources said that Athens will not retreat from its red lines as regards the Macedonia name issue but insist on both a single name for all uses and a revision of the country’s constitution.

Erga omnes with a constitutional revision is a necessary condition for an agreement,” they stressed, adding that “the implementation of constitutional revision is a prerequisite for joining international organisations (EU-NATO).

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