Greek PM sends message of "decisiveness to succeed" after FM's resignation

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 20, 2018

Implementing a multidimensional and active foreign policy decided by the Prime Minister himself, Nikos Kotzias has achieved tremendous successes in Greek foreign policy, giving prominence to Greece as a pillar of stability and security for the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean by solving chronic problems that Greece's global relations had been beset by for decades.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has submitted his resignation, Greece's Skai TV reported on Wednesday.

The two men argued over a deal Greece reached with neighboring Macedonia that aims to end a decades-old dispute.

Tsipras said of assuming the foreign minister role: "It is a decision not to tolerate, from now on, any double-speak from anyone, or any personal agenda in the national line of the country".

Greece's FM resigned Wednesday following a disagreement with the Defense Minister Panos Kammenos over the handling of a deal for Greece to drop its objections to FYROM joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation if the country's name is changed.

According to the same sources during the latest cabinet meeting this week Kotzias had a strong disagreement with Defense Minister Panos Kammenos who is also the leader of the junior Right-wing party in the Left- led coalition.

Reportedly, Kotzias felt offended when Kammenos, who opposes a name change deal recently reached between Athens and Skopje (the so-called Prespa Agreement, after the name of the lake where it was signed), accused Kotzias of managing "secret funds".

He said he was "pained" to have to accept the resignation of Kotzias.

Tsipras also sought to reassure FYROM, which is in the process of debating the agreement in its Parliament, that he fully supports the agreement that will upgrade Greece's global standing, as he said.

However, this disagreement risk to bring down the coalition government of Alexis Tsipras, who has only a slight majority.

It is awaiting approval from both countries' parliaments and, though Macedonians backed the name change in a referendum last month, just 37 percent turned out to vote - too few for the result to be legally valid. "And the quicker this farce ends, the better", New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

The impact of the resignation in Skopje will most likely be to further stiffen the opposition's resistance to any compromise on the constitutional changes now under discussion there and will probably guarantee new elections will need to be called soon if there is any hope of ratifying the Prespes Agreement.

"It's perfectly clear today that Mr Tsipras is not just a weak prime minister".

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