Interview of Alternate FM Droutsas on Skai 100.3 radio’s show

Ms. Kossioni: On the line with us today is Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas. Minister, good morning.

Mr. Droutsas: Good morning, Ms. Kossioni, to you and your listeners.

Ms. Kossioni: Thank you. Several matters have been opened lately and we would like to discuss them with you. I would like to start with the latest, because I also read reports this morning that the Foreign Ministry of FYROM called the Head of Greece’s Liaison Office to Skopje, Ms. Papadopoulou, to give her a demarche regarding the racist chants heard during the parade in Athens on the occasion of 25 March, and we see, Mr.Droutsas, that a bunch of brainless people, if you allow me to say that, seems to have exposed our country.

That is, first we had the protest from Tirana and now the Foreign Ministry of Skopje handed over this demarche. to what extent has this brought us to a difficult position?

Mr. Droutsas: I do not want us to exaggerate: both the government and the competent Minister have condemned this isolated incident from the very outset. Of course, it is part of diplomatic practice, if you like, for countries believing that they have been offended by a certain act to hand over demarches in order to express their protest. This is within diplomatic practice, as I said.

But I would not like us to exaggerate. The Greek government, as we said, unequivocally condemned this incident from the outset and took the necessary measures. These are the facts conveyed by our Ambassadors to the Foreign Ministries of Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and I think this is where the whole story ends.

The matter is closed to us and I would simply like to stress, particularly with regard to our neighbouring country, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, that we would not like to see them try to take advantage of this isolated – I repeat – incident.

Ms. Kossioni: This is precisely where I would like us to focus, the fact that it could be used for political expediencies. I read in our neighbouring country’s Foreign Ministry note that such things are unacceptable and this is improper behaviour by a NATO and EU member state that aspires to become a model of democracy in the region of Southeast Europe.

Mr. Droutsas: Greece is a model and not just in our region. We stress this and this is something the entire international community knows. We do not need to answer back to anyone on this. I stress once again: the Greek government has done what it should have done from the very outset. And we have sent a message in every direction, that no one should try to take advantage of this isolated incident in order to create a hostile climate between our two countries.

This does not help with anything, particularly at a time when Greece has shown that it truly seeks good neighbourly relations, particularly vis-a-vis the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. We want to promote our neighbouring country’s European perspective and we have expressed our sincere wish to come to an agreement on the name issue.

This is what we must concentrate on and this is why I call upon everyone, and of course our neighbouring country’s leadership, not to try and exploit this isolated event, which the Greek government has condemned from the outset in a clear and unequivocal manner and on which it has taken the necessary measures.

Ms. Kossioni: You have been absolutely clear, Mr. Droutsas. Let us now move on with our discussion.

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