Wednesday, 19 December 2018 | News today: 16

Lavrov blasts US and EU interference in Macedonia as Tsipras meets Putin

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The West is in a hurry to implement the treaty between Greece and Macedonia and bring Macedonia into NATO at the beginning of 2019, and this is the reason why they brutally interfere in the internal affairs of Skopje, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview with Greek daily Iefimerida, on the day when Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

– As is known, the referendum failed. In this situation, the constitutional amendments were imposed on the Parliament, on October 19th, when members of Parliament were blackmailed and bribed, amid direct interference of foreign diplomats including the US Ambassador. Now intense efforts are put in place to finalize the process by the beginning of 2019. This haste only serves the one purpose of Washington, and that is to urgently admit Skopje into NATO, Lavrov said, speaking about the highly criticized vote in the Macedonian Parliament when eight members of Parliament from VMRO-DPMNE, most of whom have various criminal charges filed against them, voted against the party line and supported opening the process to amend the Constitution.

Lavrov said that the other part of the promise, that Macedonia will also join NATO after it changes its name, can take decades, and that the urgency of the process is over NATO alone.

– They keep placing countries in a false dilemma: whether to be with Moscow or with Washington and Brussels. These actions lead to further destabilization of the European security architecture and increases tensions and draws new lines of division, Lavrov added.

Russia has indicated that it may block the implementation of the Zaev – Tsipras treaty at the United Nations, and Zaev’s officials have said that, facing this Russian veto, the UN Security Council will be merely be notified of the treaty and not asked to adopt another resolution. Speaking to Russian media, before his meeting with Putin, Tsipras said that he hopes Russia will also adopt the name “Republic of North Macedonia”, which he and Zaev put forward.

Before discussing Greek hopes to serve as transit country for Russian gas with Putijn, Tsipras assured the Russian public that his treaty with Zaev is not over NATO, but merely to resolve a long standing dispute between two countries. Greek – Russian relations have also deteriorated over the attempts by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as independent and equal to other orthodox churches.