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Athens’ memorandum proposal – a Greek trap or a step forwards? October 6, 2012

Posted by Yilan in Macedonia, Yunanistan.
Tags: , , , , ,

 Macedonian government should respond positively but also give its own proposals to the draft memorandum of understanding, presented yesterday by Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos to his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Poposki.
This is the position of diplomats and professors on the issue.
The letter sent to Minister Poposki says that the memorandum should set a framework and the basic parameters of the name issue solution. Most of the proposals in the draft memorandum, as Dnevnik comments, repeat the Interim Agreement, while the new, and rather moot, point concerns Athens’ demand for the two countries to undertake the engagement to find a name with a geographic term for a broad use.
The Greek foreign minister comments further that Poposki may address the Greek representation to Skopje, the Greek foreign ministry and name dispute negotiator Adamandios Vasilakis. Spokesperson of the Macedonian government, Alexandar Georgiev, on the other hand, said yesterday that Avramopoulos’ letter will be examined carefully and serious consideration.
With the draft paper the Greek government wants the two countries to agree on the inviolability of the borders, respect the territorial integrity of the other country, refrain from propaganda and statements, which could violate the negotiations, including the use of symbols, which are part of the cultural heritage of the two countries.
“We confirm that neither of the countries will back claims on any of the territories of the other or demand change of the borders,” the document reads.
One of the points in the documents envisages an agreement for speeding up the negotiations under the auspices of the UN, under Resolution 845, with the purpose to reach agreement on the differences, provided under Resolution 817.
With regard to this Avramopoulos proposes the two countries to reach an agreement on overall respect of the principles of good neighbourly relations and on non-interference in the home affairs of the other country under no circumstances.
The last point, which is unacceptable for Macedonia, is that the framework within which the name issue should be solved should be within the Greek red lines.
“There is a need to continue the process within the agreed framework of the basic parameters for the name issue solution, which will also include an agreement that any solution to the dispute will have a clear notion about the name and will not give chances for ambiguities around distinguishing the territory of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia and the regions of the neighbouring countries, especially the North Greece region and that the agreement will be for a broad use (erga omnes),” the paper says.
According to President of the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly H.E. Dr. Srgjan Kerim, there is an obvious stirring up in the name issue talks, which is felt after the visit of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Macedonia. According to him, there is no reason for the Macedonian government not to respond positively to Greece’s proposal.
“Our country should consider the draft memorandum a good will for negotiations,” Kerim said.
According to Vladimir Ortakovski, professor in international law, the texts concerning the inviolability of the borders and the respect to the sovereignty are indisputable, since they are provided in the interim agreement, too.
“We should reply that we do not accept any framework except for the one set by the UN Security Council. We cannot allow the outlining of possible solution,” Ortakovski remarked.
According to him, the memorandum is Athens’ response to the initiative for good neighbourly relations, proposed by Macedonia.
“Greece showed that it does not want to be in passive position. Thus, our diplomacy should analyse the proposal and then respond with a counter offer,” Ortakovski commented further.
Professor Stevo Pendarovski, who considers the text of the draft resolution good, also thinks that there is a need to pay attention to the part, which concerns the set framework for the agreement.
“The UN resolutions do not set parameters for name issue’s solution. We have to see whether Greece sets this important definition on purpose. The government should reply that it will not engage itself with this part, since the preliminary condition is to hold talks on name issue’s solution, while the framework is not for broad use.”
Bosko Stankovski, PhD(c) of International Law with the Cambridge University, said that there were certain points, which need to be paid attention to.
“There are two things that impressed me. First of all, the language used in the memorandum shows that Greece is trying to update the name dispute as an issue connected to the security and the basic condition for our European-Atlantic integration. This is not just by chance, since nowadays no one believes that the name affects the security. Secondly, Greece wants to set the stretch within which the name will be used before reaching a final solution,” Stankovski remarked.
Diplomats, who preferred to stay anonymous, commented that if the memorandum was expanded with one more point – that the two countries undertake the engagement to observe the interim agreement, could help Macedonia get a date for starting the EU accession talks.
Professor Ortakovski said that the interim agreement will be in force even after Athens and Skopje sign a memorandum of understanding.
According to some, there is no difference between the memorandum of understanding and the agreement on good neighborly relations.


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