Greek FM Kotzias resigns over Macedonia name row inside cabinet

Greek foreign minister quits in Macedonia name row

Greek foreign minister quits in Macedonia name row

According to a statement, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accepted the resignation of Nikos Kotzias stating that the prime ministry would take over on the Macedonia name deal to ensure its completion.

Mr. Kotzias' resignation comes a day after a heated disagreement with Defense Minister Panos Kammenos during a cabinet meeting, according to several officials.

Kotzias was the minister responsible for negotiating the agreement with the Republic of Macedonia over the country's name, which has been the subject of a decades-long dispute between Greece and its northern neighbor.

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.

Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev faces an uphill battle to secure the necessary two-thirds majority to rename his country North Macedonia, a move aimed at opening a path to NATO and European Union membership after a 27-year dispute.

Kammenos has repeatedly voiced in recent months his party's strong objection to the deal and has warned that he and the Independent Greeks MPs will vote against the agreement when it will reach the Greek parliament for ratification.

"It is a decision not to tolerate, from now on, any double-speak from anyone, or any personal agenda (against). the national line", he said in a televised statement, without elaborating.

Apparently, the PM's balanced distance from bothe the Defence minister who opposes the Prespa Agreement and the initiator and creator of it, the Greek FM seem to have caused the dissatisfaction of Nikos Kotzias (i.e. the latter).

Since Macedonia declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, Greece has blocked the young republic's path to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership over objections to its use of the term Macedonia, arguing it implied a territorial claim on Greece's own northern Macedonia province.

Greek media reported on Wednesday that Kotzias and Kammenos had argued during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. SYRIZA and ANEL are believed to be "strange bedfellows' and this crisis shows cracks within the coalition, with some thinking that it marks the end of the Tsipras' government".

This might prove to be a challenge, as the Zaev government in FYROM seems to be struggling to muster enough deputies in the country's Parliament to ratify the agreement. "And the quicker this farce ends, the better", New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.