Passed over for the Nobel Peace Prize this year, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Zoran Zaev will be nominated again for their deal to end a name dispute.
Former winner Wided Bouchamaoui, a Tunisian businesswoman who shared the 2015 award, said in the FYROM capital of Skopje that she would put their names up for the honor next year, citing the still-unresolved name deal as “an extremely important process.”
The agreement would see FYROM North Macedonia, and Greece lifting its objections to its northern neighbor joining NATO and the European Union but only if FYROM renounces irredentist claims on Greek lands, including the real Macedonia and the second-largest city and major port of Thessaloniki.
That process is ongoing in FYROM but faces a stiffer challenge in Greece where Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, leader of the tiny, pro-austerity, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) who are junior partners in the coalition headed by Tsipras’ anti-nationalist SYRIZA opposes the agreement and said his group would vote against it.
Bouchamaoui was awarded for her participation in the Tunisia National Dialogue Quartet and gave her backing to Tsipras – whose party backs terrorist killers – and Zaev during an event at a private university, the Greek state-run Athens News Agency (ANA) said.
A SYRIZA Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Stelios Kouloglou attended and praised the news, along with the rector of the private Skopje-based university FON, Nano Ruzin even though the deal is up in the air and could be derailed by Kammenos unless Tsipras gets enough votes from rival parties.
Kouloglou and Bouchamaoui were due to visit Athens on Dec. 19 and meet with Tsipras, who is fending off criticism his party helped make the SKAI TV station a target for terrorists who set off off a bomb outside the building.
SKAI officials and the major opposition New Democracy said Tsipras’ condoning of violence and his party’s implicit support of terrorists it’s said to want released from jail are ramped up attacks in Athens and against the station.
Kouloglou said: “The proposal for the nomination of Alexis Tsipras for a Nobel Peace Prize is a great honor for Greece,” without mentioning the Premier has been bitterly criticized for backing terror and not peace.
Tsipras and Zaev were on the short list for this year’s prize that went to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq.
Tsipras and Zaev were even mentioned as favorites in October, Wiktor Nummellin, the Swedish TT news agency’s special correspondent for Nobel Prizes, told ANA in an interview at the time.
“This year they are talking a lot about the Korean peninsula, they are talking about the refugee situation, the situation between Greece and ‘Macedonia’ with the negotiations,” he said, using the name FYROM calls itself in violation of a 1991 agreement reached with then-ruling New Democracy.
Nummellin underlined that a lot of people in the Peace Prize Committee would think that is a kind of perfect Peace Prize. “It would be a perfect Peace Prize to give it for instance to the prime ministers of both countries or someone else who has been negotiating,” he stated.
“They really like the situation when people have been negotiating, they are coming to an agreement, putting it on the table, instead of trying to solve a war crisis or sanctions,” he explained.