Greek defenсe minister resigns, PM Tsipras calls vote of confidence in govt

Panos Kammenos

Panos Kammenos

"I have taken my decision and have informed the president of parliament that we will immediately move to the process outlined by the constitution for the renewal of the confidence in my government", Tsipras told journalists.

New Democracy is vehemently against the agreement but Tsipras hopes to convince opposition MPs from smaller parties to back the historic name change deal.

Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1 million people.

The new name will be used both internationally and bilaterally, so that even the 140 or more countries that recognise the name Macedonia will also have to adopt North Macedonia.

Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati tweeted after the vote, saying "the contribution of Albanian political parties once again proved to be a decisive factor".

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras Sunday called an "immediate" no-confidence vote in parliament over the resignation of a top minister opposed to the country's name change deal with Macedonia.

The country's parliament nevertheless ratified the deal in a vote on january 11.

The resignation of Panos Kammenos clouded the future of the coalition government months before national elections.

The investigation, according to judicial sources, is looking into whether personal data was violated as part of the probe. Polls indicate it will probably fail to obtain the minimum three percent of the popular vote needed to meet the Greek parliamentary election threshold. The replacement, also approved by Kammenos, will take effect Tuesday.

"Our parliament found the strength but it wasn't easy". For years, Athens has blocked Macedonia's entry to the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, citing the name dispute.

"The United States sees this as a historic opportunity to advance stability, security and prosperity throughout the region", Pompeo said in a statement released from Washington.

Macedonia was founded in 1991 and recognized by the United Nations in 1993, but was accepted to the United Nations membership with the name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) due to Greek objection to the name Macedonia. He said that he believes he can find the required six votes.

The accord aims to start unraveling one of the world's longest diplomatic disputes.

Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because it has a northern province of the same name. It began almost three decades ago, with Macedonia's declaration of independence, but has roots dating back centuries.

For many Greeks, Macedonia is the name of a history-rich northern province that was the cradle of Alexander the Great's ancient empire.

Last June, Zaev and Tsipras reached a landmark compromise over the name dispute.