Defense Minister Panos Kammenos sought on Tuesday to reassure Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of his commitment to their government coalition, after recent comments in which he suggested there could be a rift in the alliance if the name deal signed with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) reaches parliament.
“I maintain my view over the name of FYROM. I will never join in the effort to overthrow the government,” he reportedly said during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, according to government sources cited by state-run news agency ANA-MPA.
Opening the meeting, Tsipras called on his ministers to pledge that they will never side with the efforts of the main opposition to overthrow the government over the name deal.
Kammenos heads the small, right-wing party Independent Greeks (ANEL) and has repeatedly expressed his strong disapproval of the accord reached by Tsipras and his FYROM counterpart Zoran Zaev to rename the northern neighbor Republic of North Macedonia.
In a recent official visit to the United States, Kammenos told US officials there was an “alternative plan” to the one agreed by Athens and Skopje last June.
Tsipras dismissed the comments in a speech at his party’s central committee meeting on Saturday, saying there is no alternative deal to the existing one.
ANA-MPA said Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and Deputy Minister for Diaspora Greeks Terence Quick, both ANEL deputies, echoed Kammenos' pledge to support the government in the same cabinet meeting.