Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Tuesday in New York that although he did not agree with the Prespa Agreement, Greece is obliged to honor it.
Meeting his counterpart for the first time, concurrent with a session of the UN General Assembly, Mitsotakis told Zaev that he would not have signed the Prespa Agreement himself, but as it is now part of international law, Greece is obliged to respect it.
The controversial treaty’s conditions were agreed upon in June of 2018 by Alexis Tsipras, the former Prime Minister of Greece, and Zaev, the president of what was then called FYROM, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Mitsotakis also told Zaev that as the main opposition leader at the time, he did whatever he could to prevent the treaty’s ratification in the Greek parliament.
According to an Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) report, Mitsotakis called on Zaev to avoid delays in meeting the obligations of the agreement, especially in those relating to trademark protection.
Zaev said his government was committed to avoiding any delays, and it will address all the issues remaining to be resolved as quickly as possible, on the path to North Macedonia’s long-hoped-for accession into the EU.
The EU supports not only North Macedonia’s accession into its ranks, but also that of all western Balkan countries, and the accession issue will be on the agenda of the upcoming EU summit meeting.
Zaev also added that the implementation of the agreement will boost Greek investments in his country, while Mitsotakis offered the viewpoint that the lack of an agreement in the past had not prevented that from happening.
AMNA quotes unnamed sources as saying that the meeting was friendly, and that both leaders expressed commitment to their respective obligations.