MOSCOW, July 18. /TASS/. The agreement between Athens and Skopje about the renaming of Macedonia is not in the interests of strengthening security in the Balkans. This was stated on Wednesday by the official representative of Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova.

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“Russia has always advocated the achievement of Skopje and Athens, a mutually acceptable agreement on honeymooning without external pressure and the imposition of artificial deadlines, which really would reflect the will of the peoples of both countries. This did not happen, – said the diplomat. The agreement led to a profound split in society and in Greece and in Macedonia. Obviously, it is far from the interests of strengthening peace and security in the Balkans and serves solely as a tool for rapid involvement of the Republic of Macedonia in NATO” .

According to her, Moscow puzzling statements of the Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran zaeva that “some businessmen sympathetic to Russia allegedly funding anti-government protest movement in the Republic of Macedonia as a result of Greece agreement on renaming the Republic of North Macedonia”. “This is another piece of groundless accusations against Moscow. This might be necessary for one purpose – the injection of anti-Russian hysteria, – said Zakharov. – Again does not refer to any facts that would confirm these words, and presented anything also will not be, otherwise it would have already been done.”

The representative of the guardian said that Western countries “openly interfering in the internal Macedonian Affairs.” “Apparently, it’s OK from their point of view,” the diplomat added.

“Instead of having to follow the norms of the Macedonian legislation and international law, the ruling in Skopje coalition habitually slipping into playing anti-Russian cards as a method of internal political struggle and, unfortunately, intimidation of its own citizens,” – said Zakharov.

Agreement on renaming

The foreign Ministers of Macedonia and Greece on June 17 during a ceremony on the shores of lake Prespa, which forms the border between the two countries signed an agreement on the new official name of the former Yugoslav Republic. The agreement provides for the use of the name “Republic of Northern Macedonia”. However, Macedonian President Ivanov George refused to sign it. According to the statement of the Prime Minister, the referendum on the new constitutional name of Macedonia will take place in September or October, and in January of next year the Parliament will approve the changes made in this regard in the Constitution.

Zaev also expects that citizens of the Republic will vote in a referendum in favor of the new name, the solution of which reveals the path to the EU and NATO, Ivanov, and that the referendum will sign the agreement.

In turn, at a press conference in Athens on 3 July, the leader member of the Greek ruling coalition right-wing party “Independent Greeks”, the Greek defence Minister Panos Kammenos warned that the agreement with Skopje will not be ratified in the Greek Parliament if it will not vote in the referendum the Greek people or if it will not vote the qualified majority in the Supreme legislative body (180 votes out of 300).