“We are Slavs,” FYROM’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said during an interview on the current affairs TV show “Top Tema” on TELMA station.
When he was asked when he thought “Macedonian history” started, Dimitrov said that this is a matter for historians and that he is a lawyer himself. “But as a citizen, I know that my language is one of the South Slavic languages, as is our culture, our tradition … I think it is healthy for us to be proud of what is ours and I believe that this adventure (archaisation) must end”, he added.
One of the main issues of contention between Greece and FYROM, besides the use of the name, was the attempt by the nationalist political elite and academia in the small country to falsify ancient history and claim lineage to Alexander the Great and the ancient Macedonians.
Nikola Dimitrov stressed that the government would take a stance in the referendum and respect its outcome. “We’ll go out every day, ten times and a hundred times, to explain why we think this agreement is good and why it should move forward. I do not know what the views of the opposition will be. But this government and this parliamentary majority will respect the will of the people. I am convinced that the people will support this effort, that fears will be dispelled”, noted Mr Dimitrov.
Asked why FYROM had accepted the new name to be for all uses, “erga omnes”, Dimitrov replied: “Because otherwise there would be no agreement. That was the position of Athens and I have no doubts about this. If we insisted on the double formula, there would be no agreement”.