Mitsotakis drew red lines for the neighbors - North Macedonia, Albania and Turkey

Kyriakos Mitsotakis / PhotoEPA-EFE/Filip Singer

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in an interview with the Greek newspaper "Macedonia" drew the top lines of Greece towards the neighboring countries of North Macedonia, Albania and Turkey.

Three weeks before the European elections, the Greek prime minister in an interview for "MtK" sent a stern message to the leadership of North Macedonia: "The new president of North Macedonia made an illegal and provocative choice to violate the official text of her oath and call the state by another name than what is defined by the Constitution of the neighboring state itself. Therefore, he violated not only the Prespa Agreement, but also the Constitution of his country," he emphasizes.

- From our side, we call on the new president to avoid similar illegal and provocative elections, which we certainly categorically state that we will not accept. It goes without saying that the European course of Skopje depends on the honest observance of what was agreed upon. Therefore, the leadership of North Macedonia must understand that it should only profit from friendship with Greece, says Mitsotakis in the interview.

He also sent a message to the opposition Greek party SYRIZA, which submitted to the parliament for ratification the three memoranda from the Prespa Agreement, an obligation that Greece has not implemented for years.

- Regarding the fact that SYRIZA officials are now asking us to speed up the ratification of the Memorandums from the Prespa Agreement, not many words are needed. It is unacceptable for the Greek powers to propose something that the other side does not even propose! Why can't Athens offer something that Skopje already insults through its new president. I remind you that in 2019 we voted against the Agreement, without ever saying that we would cancel it. Simply because it is not possible. I then pointed out his failures from the floor of the Assembly and warned about the problems they would create. We have persisted as the opposition, knowing that once a binding agreement is passed on the state, it does not change. Now, as a government, we must respect the Greek signature of an international agreement, stressed Mitsotakis.

He was decisive and repeated that they will not ratify the Memorandums until the leadership of North Macedonia consistently respects the provisions of the Prespa Agreement.

- We obviously respect what is agreed in an international agreement. But the adoption of its individual memoranda also depends on the other side. And, above all, from how consistent it will be in international obligations. So, we expect them to keep what they agreed to. And we, as a state that has continuity and consistency, will do what is prescribed accordingly, Mitsotakis said.

The "Baleris" case is blocking Albania's path to the EU

The Greek prime minister also referred to the open issues with Albania that intensified after the Albanian court sentenced the mayor of Himara Fredi Belleris to two years in prison on charges of vote buying, after which Greece threatened to block Albania's accession process to the EU.

- The issues in Greek-Albanian and Euro-Albanian relations, of course, remain. And the prime minister of Albania cannot bypass the conditions for his country's accession to the EU: first, respect for the rule of law, which is provided for in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union. Let me be clear: with the illegal pretrial detention of Himara's elected mayor and now ND candidate for the European Parliament, Fredis Beleris, Albania is violating the value of the rule of law by removing his obvious right to be tried on the basis of the presumption of innocence . Therefore, this is not only a bilateral issue, but primarily a European issue. And since Albania's access road depends on respecting the fundamental rights of the Greek minority, it inevitably passes through our country. Not to "reconcile" or "punish". But to see how Albania smoothly joins the path of European values. Regarding, finally, the participation of Fredis Belleris in the European ballot of our faction, although I do not comment on individual candidates, I will only say that it symbolizes our support for the Republic, says Mitsotakis.

By the way, last week Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama paid a private visit to Greece and addressed the gathering of Albanian migrants, party members and sympathizers in Athens in the closed arena of Galatsi under strict security measures.

Regarding the open issues with the neighbor Turkey, Mitsotakis underlined that there is great progress in the relations between the two countries, in the fields of economy, investments, tourism, cooperation in health and migrations, but his fourth meeting in a row with the Turkish President Erdogan did not bring a concrete solution on the decade-long dispute between the two countries over islands in the Aegean and the demilitarization of air and sea space in the Eastern Mediterranean.

- Let's not overlook that our only central difference with the neighboring country remains: the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. However, until this issue is resolved, based on international law and the law of the sea, we must respond today. With progress in so-called "low politics" issues, they are of great importance to the lives of citizens on both sides of the Aegean. In this regard, I would agree with the headline of a Turkish newspaper the day after my visit, which said that it was "A very nice day in the Aegean". Such beautiful days are in our hands to turn them into a whole season.

Mitsotakis also spoke about the European elections on May 9 as crucial for Greece but also for Europe because, he said, they will also reflect on the internal political correlations.

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