North Macedonia, Greece agree closer cooperation

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 3, 2019
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SKOPJE, April 2 (Xinhua) -- North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his visiting Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, agreed on Tuesday to leave behind hate and division and build bridges of cooperation and understanding between the two countries.

Speaking at the press conference here, Zaev said that the historic meeting was a strong expression of joint political will and a clear indication of a willingness to settle the open issues.

"This is the first time that North Macedonia welcomes a Greek prime minister since the country declared independence in 1991," Zaev said.

Zaev underlined that the 2018 Prespa Agreement between the two countries, which resolved their long-running name dispute, will serve the interests of both Athens and Skopje.

In his remarks, Tsipras said that the two countries are building a different story for the Balkans through the implementation of the Prespa Agreement.

According to Tsipras, Greece will support North Macedonia in its efforts and reforms to become part of the European Union (EU).

"Today we signed a memorandum of understanding and advancement of North Macedonia's EU pre-accession and accession processes," Tsipras said.

The economy, Tsipras said, was the main focus of the meeting, adding that "We have to press on to bridge the gaps of the past and to avoid double taxation."

The two prime ministers said that they had established a "coordination cooperation committee," which "is tasked with overseeing and supporting such efforts to strengthen business ties.".

In the field of defense, the two countries' foreign ministers signed a cooperation agreement, which shows Greece's willingness to help North Macedonia build defense capacities, Tsipras said.

Tsipras confirmed that Greece will conduct air control from Thessaloniki in order to guarantee the security of North Macedonia's air space.

The two premiers also announced the opening of a new border crossing near the North Macedonian town of Kavadarci that will reconnect the region of Prespa, a region shared between the two countries.

During the meeting, representatives of the two countries signed several agreements in the fields of transportation, military and border security cooperation, energy, agriculture and digitalization.

Tsipras also met with North Macedonian Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi and attended a forum of around 400 business representatives from the two countries. Enditem

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