Tsipras arrives in Skopje for historic visit; major govt, business delegation in tow

Tuesday, 02 April 2019 11:35
UPD:17:21
REUTERS/OGNEN TEOFILOVSKI

North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attend a welcoming ceremony in Skopje, North Macedonia April 2, 2019. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

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Alexis Tsipras arrived in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Tuesday morning for a historic first-ever visit by a standing Greek prime minister, heading up a delegation of 10 ministers and scores of businesspeople and investors.

Tsipras and his North Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev will then chair an inter-ministerial meeting and preside over the signing of several bilateral agreements, as Athens and Skopje hope to capitalize on momentum provided by the Prespa agreement, which resolved the long-standing "name issue".

The landmark agreement has nevertheless faced sharp opposition in both Greece and now renamed North Macedonia, with Tsipras once hard left ruling SYRIZA party faring badly in opinion polls, especially in northern Greece, where opposition to the Prespa pact is the most pronounced.

Better transports networks, road and rail connections, as well as defense cooperation were on the agenda, including the prospect of the Hellenic Air Force assuming the defense of North Macedonia's airspace

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