The first international conference on peace and sustainable development, organized by the newly established Alexis Tsipras Institute and the Zoran Zaev Foundation, was inaugurated on Monday at the Athens Conservatory in the Greek capital.

On the first day of the two-day proceedings, attended by more than 50 international dignitaries and speakers, former Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and the former prime minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, jointly presented the Prespa Award to former  long-time UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz for his tire-less and pivotal role in the signing of the landmark Prespa agreement in 2018. The latter agreement, signed by the then Tsipras and Zaev governments, in Athens and Skopje, respectively, ended the nearly three-decade-long “name issue” that had poisoned relations between the two neighboring countries in southeast Europe.

In his acceptance address, the veteran diplomat, corporate attorney and one-time presidential advisor appealed to all sides to “follow and respect the Prespa Agreement, and work hard for its implementation,” adding that if there are points in the pact that need work, then the two sides need to “sit down together and resolve them.”

Nimetz underlined that the now internationally recognized agreement is “very important for the two countries and the region, the entire region and beyond the region…all important agreements tend to involve compromises,” as he said, citing supreme examples such as the US constitution, the Treaty of Versailles and the UN Charter.

During the international conference, greetings by the mayors of Athens and Istanbul were set to open the event, with the agenda then followed by addresses by representatives of international stakeholders and organizations on the issue of sustainable development and the “green agenda”.

Tsipras’ successor at SYRIZA’s helm, Stefanos Kasselakis, also attended the conference, as did other cadres of the leftist party, including former ministers, as well as deputies from other parties and newly elected MEPs.