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Monday, October 15, 2018, 

Kotzias: Citizens of the neighbouring country have the right to self-determination

Kotzias: Citizens of the neighbouring country have the right to self-determination

Athens, 22 July 2018 (MIA) - We cannot change the universal right the neighbours to be called Macedonians, at an individual or unofficial level, but we can call them however we want, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Sunday in an interview with Greek news agency ANA-MPA.

“What we have said is that the citizens of this country have the right to self-determination. It is a universal right that we cannot change. But at the same time, we can call them however we want, Kotzias said, explaining that when we talk about at an individual level, "only a totalitarian state and a state with a ruler can control how someone will be called unofficially" adding that officially the name North Macedonia will be used for state institutions.

Коѕијас АНА МПА

Regarding the Prespa agreement, Kotzias said that the conditions were mature for a deal.

“The conditions were mature. When the conditions are mature, it means that you must proceed with what you what you can do," he said.

"We could have a better agreement if the other party did not participate in the negotiations. We would not have called it North Macedonia, but North Alaska. The fact that we had made all these concessions the previous years did not help. But we had to deal with two issues: one was that the other side had to agree, because we did not conquer it in order to impose what we want. We want the other side to convince its own society, to win the parliament majority, the referendum, to revise its constitution, to proceed with difficult decisions," Kotzias said, MIA reports from Athens.

In regard to commercial products in both countries that have the adjective “Macedonian/s” Kotzias said that it will require a necessary period of time to resolve this issue.

Asked about the possible cancellation of the Russian foreign minister’s planned visit to Athens, Kotzias expressed hope that any problems between the two countries will be resolved in an amicable manner.

“Sergei Lavrov, whom I consider to be one of the best diplomats on the international scene, and I have friendly relations. He asked me to invite him to Greece to prepare for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s trip to Moscow, on their invitation. If he wants to come, he will do so and again he will be welcome. If he feels that he must align with those that we expelled or with those that were not allowed to enter, it is his right,” he said. sk/14:50

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