Wednesday, 19 December 2018 | News today: 16

Kotzias: I would’ve pulled Zaev’s ears over his “Aegean Macedonians” statements

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Former Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who determined the text of the Prespa treaty with Macedonian Minister Nikola Dimitrov, said that if he still held office, he would’ve “pulled Zaev’s ears” over his statement that Macedonian living in Greece will soon be allowed to get public education in Macedonian. The statement, which Zaev made in Parliament, caused havoc on the Greek political scene.

– I would’ve pulled his ears using all means possible, using NATO and the EU. It is good that Nimetz got involved and reminded Zaev that he is violating two counts of the 1995 Interim Accord and the Prespa treaty, Kotzias said, using the common punishment for unruly kids as metaphor. UN mediator Matthew Nimetz intervened with Zaev to get him to issue an apology to the Greeks, who refuse the accept that there is a Macedonian minority in the part of the region of Macedonia which Greece has held for the past 100 years, let alone allow them to study in Macedonian.

– It is up to us to determine which language will be used in Greek education. It is not a matter that concerns them, Kotzias added.

Defending the Zaev – Tsipras treaty in Parliament, Zaev accused a VMRO-DPMNE representative saying that the previous Gruevski Government didn’t care enough about the “Aegean Macedonians” and that this treaty opens the way for them to finally get minority rights, including public education in Macedonian. Macedonians refer to this region as Aegean or White Sea Macedonia and its status has been a thorny Balkan issue ever since the expulsion of the Ottoman Empire a century ago.