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Kotzias expected in Skopje on March 22 with 20-page draft-treaty in hand


The draft-agreement between Macedonia and Greece, which tackles all open issues, contains 55 paragraphs on 20 pages, a Greek radio station has reported.

Athens 98.4 FM reported that the document has been prepared by the Greek Foreign Ministry and includes all those items announced previously by FM Nikos Kotzias. It has been thoroughly reviewed by PM Alexis Tsipras and Minister Kotzias. MIA's Athens correspondent reports on Monday.

As regards the name proposals the document includes, the radio station suggested that Upper Macedonia was 'a favorite' of the Athens administration, but to remain untranslated, 'something that is going to be quite unlikely to be accepted by the other party.'

Judging from recent media reports in Greece, the government not only prefers an untranslated name, but it also champions a name of an adjective and noun spelled together.

Other items of Greece's draft-document of demands includes an amendment to the Constitution.

"The issue of a name change, as well as other issues in relation to the Constitution of the neighboring country, namely a change to the Constitution, is one of the main demands of Athens as a way to secure a guarantee for accurate implementation of the use of the new 'erga omnes' name - same name for internal use as well as for external use. A constitutional change requires a majority in Parliament, something that is lacking in the government coalition, led by SDSM and the junior government coalition partner of the Albanian party bloc, DUI," commented a seasoned journalist of the radio station of the Municipality of Athens.

Furthermore, it is reported that there are inconsistent reports as to whether the draft-treaty has been already sent to Macedonia or not. Over the weekend, some Greek media cited US sources as saying that Athens has already forwarded the proposal, MIA reports.

"According to some reports, Greece had sent the proposals on March 12, while diplomatic sources in FYROM have said that the document hasn't been sent yet. They said they expected the draft-agreement to arrive together with FM Kotzias on Thursday. However, it remains critical whether a breakthrough could be made in the meeting of Kotzias and his counterpart Dimitrov ahead of the name talks with UN envoy Matthew Nimetz, slated for March 27 in Vienna," Athens 98.4 FM reported.

With respect to media reports in Greece in the past few days suggesting that the draft-agreement has been forwarded already to Macedonia, diplomatic sources in Skopje tell MIA that Greece's proposals haven't arrived yet. It is expected the document to be handed over by Kotzias himself, they said.

As regards March 27 - a date revealed by media in Macedonia and Greece when reportedly the countries' heads of diplomacy will hold a meeting with UN's Nimetz - there is no official confirmation neither in Skopje nor in Athens.

FM Nikos Kotzias is expected to travel by plane with a direct flight and to land at the Skopje airport on March 22, when 'crucial' talks will be started all over again in a bid to settle the differences over the name, it is commented.

"Diplomatic sources in Athens have been expressing concern ahead of the meeting of the two ministers on Thursday in view of the comment allegedly made by the foreign minister of the neighboring country when speaking to officials in the EU. According to reports, Mr. Dimitrov has apparently called some of Greece's positions 'absurd'," the Greek radio station said. 

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