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Russia rejects accusations of meddling in Greece’s affairs, says senior diplomat

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Moscow would be expressing its point of view on the issues within the competence of the UN Security Council

MOSCOW, January 15./TASS/. Moscow is not meddling in internal affairs of Athens in the situation around the name for Macedonia, but it will continue voicing its opinion on the issue as it is within the competence of the UN Security Council, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Tuesday in comments on accusations.

"We are in no way meddling in Greece’s internal affairs, but in the issues within the competence of the UN Security Council Russia will be expressing its point of view," the diplomat stressed.

He said the Monday’s commentary by the Russian Foreign denouncing the Macedonian parliament’s decision to amend the constitution in view of the name change was a fundamental assessment of "how negotiations (between Athens and Skopje to rename Macedonia) had proceeded, under which international pressure" and unprecedented interference demonstrated by the West in order to achieve quite clear geopolitical aims.

After the Russian Foreign Ministry had circulated the commentary, the Greek Foreign Ministry urged it not to meddle in its affairs over the Prespa Agreement and recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia under the name of the Republic of North Macedonia.

On June 17, the Macedonian and Greek top diplomats signed the Prespa Agreement stipulating that the former Yugoslav republic would change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. Once the Macedonian parliament approves constitutional amendments making sure that the country abandons its irredentist claims, the Agreement will be submitted to the Greek parliament for ratification.

The document is supposed not only to resolve the years-long dispute with Athens but will also to allow Skopje to officially launch the process of joining NATO and the European Union.

On September 30, Macedonia held an advisory referendum on the name change deal with Greece. The country’s citizens were offered to answer the following question: "Are you in favor of European Union and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece?" However, the referendum was declared void due to low voter turnout. According to the election commission, the turnout was 36.