In a ceremony replete with symbolism, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Zoran Zaev will meet in the Prespes lake district on Sunday to sign the agreement that may end a decades-long dispute between their countries and lead to the renaming of Greece’s northern neighbour, as well as its EU and NATO entry.
Tsipras is due to arrive in Prespes, the lake where the borders of Greece, Albania and FYROM meet, at 10:30 on Sunday, at the village Psarades on its shore. With him will be Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, the United Nations Secretary General’s special envoy for the name dispute Matthew Nimetz, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, European Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn and the representative of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo.
Zaev will be arriving by boat, if the weather permits, with FYROM’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, or via the new border crossing by road. Tsipras and the other officials will meet them at the marina and then walk to a specially prepared raised platform that will be set up, complete with a tent in case of bad weather.
The signing of the agreement will take place on this platform, by the foreign ministers of the two countries and Nimetz, in a special ceremony, following an address by Tsipras and Zaev.
After the agreement is signed, the two prime ministers, foreign ministers and official guests will board water craft and sail to a town on the opposite shore of the lake in FYROM, where they will have lunch.
Other ministers and officials from both countries will also attend the signing ceremony, which will be heavily covered by the media in Greece, FYROM but also neighbouring Bulgaria and Serbia.