Τop US diplomat in Athens: Prespa deal’s implementation won’t be easy

28 February 2019
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US Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer, in Athens on Wednesday, told reporters that application of the recently ratified Prespa agreement – normalizing relations between Greece and the newly christened Republic of North Macedonia – will not be smooth or easy.

Palmer first emphasized that the bilateral agreement – with international ramifications – was a noteworthy diplomatic achievement.

Asked by “N” over continued concerns aired by Greece’s opposition that the agreement will all North Macedonia to raise an issue of a “Macedonian” minority in northern Greece, Palmer said a full implementation of the agreement will take some time, with both sides needing to show a positive stance to overcome whatever future glitches.

He said the goal is to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, and to boost North Macedonia’s European prospects.

Palmer also did not mince his words in referring to Russian meddling in the region, expressing a conviction that Moscow continues to try and undermine the agreement.

He referred to threats and “propaganda” mechanisms aimed to scupper the Prespa agreement and block the country’s accession to NATO.

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