Greece's conservatives called on Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias to clarify the government's position on the name deal signed with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia earlier this year, following statements by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos who proposed an “alternative plan” to the official agreement.
Kammenos, who is meeting with US officials in Washington, predicted that FYROM will fail to push through the deal with Greece, while suggesting a plan which, as he said, will serve the same geostrategic objectives as the Prespes accord without touching upon the name dispute between the two Balkan neighbors.
Shadow foreign minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos asked Kotzias whether there is indeed a "plan B" to the Prespes deal and criticized the defense minister's stance in his talks with US officials.
“Does he know of an alternative plan which, as the defense minister claimed, substitutes the Prespes agreement? If yes, who created it, whose approval did it receive and where was this plan submitted?” he asked.
“And, ultimately, who determines the country's foreign policy? The Minister of Defense, or the Minister of Foreign Affairs?”
He also said whether Kammenos' statements about “stopping Russian influence in the Balkans” will undermine the purpose of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' planned visit to Russia this winter, and affect the prospects of Greek-Russian relations.
During a meeting with Wess Mitchell, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, at the State Department on Tuesday, Kammenos floated the idea of a defense agreement between Greece, FYROM, Albania, Bulgaria and, at a later stage, Serbia with the aim of consolidating stability along Greece’s northern border.
Such deal, Kammenos said, will help to safeguard the Balkans against Russian influence while protecting stability in FYROM.