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Greece - MFA - Foreign Ministry spokesman’s reply to questions about information regarding the raising of a statue of Alexander the Great at a central square in Skopje

Foreign Ministry spokesman Gregory Delavekouras made the following statement in reply to questions about information regarding initiation of the assembly and placement of a statue of Alexander the Great – under the alleged official name of “warrior on horseback” – at a central square in Skopje:

“Under other conditions, we would be honored by the decision of the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to spend nearly €10 million to honor Alexander the Great, placing a statue of the Greek army commander at a central square in Skopje.

But the ‘archaization policy’ that this action is part of is – beyond being risible – essentially based on the effort to usurp Greek history with a view to cultivating nationalism and conflict. This policy is in violation of the spirit of the Interim Accord, is provocative and condemnable, undermines our bilateral relations, and hampers the negotiations under the UN. It directly opposes the principles of good neighborly relations and will have unavoidable repercussions for FYROM’s Euroatlantic perspective.

What’s more, this action belies the recent assurances of the FYROM political leadership to the UN and the international community that they intend to work sincerely toward resolving the name issue.

Greece will inform its partners and allies, as well as the international organizations, of this provocative action, about which we had warned them.

Mr. Gruevski obviously feels increasing pressure – both at home and internationally – to achieve a solution. A name with a geographical qualifier for use in relation to everyone is the solution that will allow the building of good neighborly relations, will contribute to regional stability, and will free up FYROM’s European perspective.

While Greece is pursuing the achievement of a solution consistently and in a constructive spirit, Mr. Gruevski is making provocations to avoid reality, undercutting his fellow citizens’ European future. He needs to get back to reality right now and work sincerely and seriously towards achieving a solution. Otherwise, he will bear responsibility for his country’s backsliding.”

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