Foreign Minister snubs Kammenos over name dispute

Foreign Minister snubs Kammenos over name dispute

In what was seen as a snub to Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said that a possible solution to the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will require the approval of the majority of lawmakers rather than that of political parties.

Kammenos, whose party is the junior partner in the leftist-led coalition, had said on Monday that ANEL would never give its consent to any name containing the word “Macedonia.”

But Kotzias hinted in an interview early Tuesday on state-run ERT TV that the government would vote for a solution to the name dispute despite Kammenos’s objections.

“What is needed is a majority of lawmakers and not one of parties,” he said, adding that “it is the right of every party to state its position on issues it considers fundamental.”

With regard to the talks between Athens and Skopje that were relaunched last week by United Nations special mediator Matthew Nimetz after a three-year hiatus, Kotzias said that FYROM must “display a culture of consensus and compromise, which means that neither side can expect to have it all.”

“We need to find a compromise that is beneficial to both countries and will stand the test of time,” he added.

Kotzias also said there are no names on the table as yet and ruled out the possibility of the government agreeing to FYROM joining NATO under its temporary name.

He further referred to the recent visit to Greece by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying that it was positive that the Turkish president said Ankara has no territorial designs on Greece. Moreover, he also noted that Erdogan admitted, for the first time, that not all of Greece’s Muslim community in Thrace comprises ethnic Turks, but includes Pomaks and Roma as well.

He added in the same interview that the fact that Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus and its intervention rights were on the table in the efforts to resolve the island’s problem represented a “great success for Greek diplomacy.”

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