US Defense Secretary says Russia Trying to Obstruct Greece-FYROM Name Deal

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis with FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that Russia is trying to interfere in FYROM affairs by backing the vote against the Prespa name agreement with Greece in the September 30 referendum.

In his visit to Skopje on Monday, the U.S. official said that there is “no doubt” Moscow is trying to obstruct the name deal between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece that would pave the way for the Balkan country’s accession to NATO and the EU.

“They have transferred money and they’re also conducting broader influence campaigns,” Mattis said.

Greece and FYROM signed an agreement in June according to which the country will be named “Republic of North Macedonia”, under the condition that the FYROM Constitution is revised to exclude any irredentist claims.

Meanwhile, Market Vision opinion poll on behalf of the FYROM news website shows that the “yes” to the Prespa agreement has a slight lead.

Specifically, in the question: “Are you in favor of joining NATO and the EU by accepting the Prespa agreement”, 51.1 percent of respondents answered “yes”, while 48.9 percent of FYROM citizens answered “no”.

On the question: “Are you in favor of the agreement with Greece to change the “Republic of Macedonia” name, 52.6 percent of respondents answered “no”, while 47.4 percent answered “yes”.