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Kotzias accuses Kammenos of undermining Greek position on FYROM name deal

TAGS: Politics

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias reportedly accused Defense Minister Panos Kammenos of jeopardizing Greece's position on the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) during a heated cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Kammenos heads the junior coalition party Independent Greeks (ANEL) and has repeatedly expressed his strong disapproval of the accord reached by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his FYROM counterpart Zoran Zaev to rename the northern neighbor Republic of North Macedonia.

During an 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 to change FYROM's name, arguing the current accord will not be ratified by the country's parliament.

According to sources, Kotzias, who brokered the deal along with his counterpart Nikola Dimitrov after months of negotiations, accused the leader of ANEL of adopting a policy that is harming the government and the country to serve his own political and personal ambitions.

The foreign minister also said Kammenos' remarks during his US visit violate the government pact.

However, asked by journalists after the end of the meeting, Kotzias avoided a question about his clash with Kammenos, saying “I don't know.”

Opening the cabinet meeting earlier, 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.

On his side, Kammenos sought to reassure Tsipras of his commitment to the coalition, saying he will not topple the government over the accord.

“I maintain my view over the name of FYROM. I will never join in the effort to overthrow the government,” he reportedly said according to government sources cited by state-run news agency ANA-MPA.

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