Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement in Berlin today (12 June) on the agreement reached between Skopje and Athens on the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:
Skopje and Athens have made history today. For 25 years, the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was disputed between Macedonians and Greeks. It is great news that both sides have now found a solution and agreed on the name Republic of North Macedonia.
This shows what is possible when we treat each other with patience, reason and respect at international level. What also paid off is that we never gave up hope, that we were in constant close contact, and that both sides repeatedly reached compromises, even in difficult phases. The negotiations were protracted and challenging, but in the end the decisiveness and vision of both Prime Ministers and their Foreign Ministers led to success.
I would like to congratulate both Governments very warmly on this historic agreement!
I call on all political forces in Skopje and Athens to play their part in ensuring that this historic agreement is indeed implemented, as it will strengthen good neighbourly relations between the two countries and foster stability in the Western Balkans. Furthermore, a crucial obstacle to EU and NATO membership has now been removed.
After more than 25 years, the Governments in Skopje and Athens have resolved their dispute on the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Both sides have agreed on the name Republic of North Macedonia.
During the negotiations, the Federal Foreign Office – in close cooperation with the Federal Chancellery – was in constant contact with both sides and with UN mediator Matthew Nimetz. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke on the telephone with Nikola Dimitrov in Skopje last Friday (8 June) and encouraged him not to let this historic opportunity pass by. The country’s name was also discussed during talks between Foreign Minister Maas and his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias in Berlin on 29 May.