ATHENS – Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias from the ruling SYRIZA party was ripped for asking the extreme right Golden Dawn its opinion on Greece’s name dispute with FYROM.
Kotzias had sent a confidential letter to opposition parties, including the far-right nationalists whose leaders are on trial on charges of operating a criminal gang.
Greece has been locked in a feud with FYROM for more than two decades over what the official name should be for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
In a response to journalists’ questions, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Constantinos Koutras said Kotzias had sought the views of party officials during a “confidential” meeting of the National Council on Foreign Policy in July and had followed up with a letter.
“Kotzias asked the representatives of the parties in attendance to send their views regarding the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Given that, as of today, there had been no response… he sent a relevant letter to all of the parties, making the reminder that their responses on this issue are pending,” Koutras said.
The statement came after Kotzias was blasted by opposition lawmakers following a reference to the confidential letter in Parliament by Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos.
PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos described Kotzias’s decision to send a letter to all opposition parties, including GD whose MPs are on criminal trial, as “strange and extremely dangerous.”
New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis accused Kotzias of leaking the letter himself. Kotzias criticized his critics for talking about what he said was a confidential matter.