Costas Karamanlis on Prespa agreement: ND’s criticism ‘powerful and fully documented’

25 January 2019
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Former Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis (2004-2009) on Thursday removed any doubts over his stance regarding the contentious Prespa agreement, which comes up for ratification in Greece’s Parliament later in the evening.

Karamanlis and his top ministers in 2008 were instrumental in blocking the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s (fYRoM) entry into NATO by promoting Athens’ position regarding the “name issue” dividing Athens and Skopje – which the Prespa agreement aims to resolve.

In a carefully worded statement, Karamanlis first noted that the current Tsipras government did not exploit the advantage gained by Athens from the 2008 Bucharest summit regarding the “name issue”. At the same time, he called his own center-right New Democracy (ND) party’s criticism of the provisional accord as “powerful and fully documented”, directly touching on speculation – mostly peddled by government side and pro-government media – that he has differences with ND’s current leadership over the Prespa agreement.

“As it has previously been underlined, Ms Bakoyannis (his foreign minister in 2008) has accurately described the government’s policy at the time, which led to the NATO summit decision in Bucharest; a decision that offered a particularly effective negotiating tool for our country, one which, however, was not exploited as it should have,” Karamanlis said, in a prepared statement.

Moreover, Karamanlis, the nephew of ND founder and Greek statesman Constantine Karamanlis, said the current negotiation process was conducted under “conditions of unjustified haste, when, obviously, others are pressed for a resolution of this issue. But not Greece, of course”.

“In conclusion, the government should respect the sensitivity and listen to the reasonable concerns of a large majority of citizens, as well as formulate, with its own initiative, conditions for bare minimum of national understanding…” he wrote.

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