Kammenos stresses opposition to use of term ‘Macedonia’ in name solution

Kammenos stresses opposition to use of term ‘Macedonia’ in name solution

In comments to ANT1 television channel on Tuesday, Panos Kammenos, who is also leader of the junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL), underlined his opposition to the use of the term "Macedonia" in a solution to a name dispute between Athens and Skopje.

"The Skopje issue will not come to Parliament before elections because there will be no change to the constitution in Skopje," he said. "But if it does come [to Parliament] I will have to honor my mandate which is not to use the term "Macedonia" [in a solution]," he said.

Kammenos acknowledged that he and leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have different positions on the issue. "The prime minister believes in a composite name for the Skopje issue," he said. "We disagree and will not vote for that," he added, referring to ANEL.

However, Kammenos indicated that this difference of opinion would not cause problems for the coalition. "We are fully coordinated on all issues," he said.

He avoided a question about whether ANEL would bring down the government over the name dispute, noting that he and Tsipras agreed to "go to the end" of their term with two priorities, getting the country out of foreign bailouts and cracking down on corruption.

Kammenos, who is also defense minister, also once again described the two Greek soldiers being detained in Turkey as "hostages."

"They are hostages because they are in a closed high-security prison for a minor offense," he said, referring to the fact that the two men accidentally crossed the border with Turkey in bad weather.

"They have been in prison for 26 days without being charged," he said.

"If Turkey wants to follow a European course, it cannot detain two European and NATO soldiers."


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