Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos on Tuesday predicted that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will fail to push through a name deal with Greece, while suggesting an alternative 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.
Kammenos, who is also the head of the government’s junior coalition partner, has opposed the name deal with FYROM. Meanwhile, a referendum in FYROM last month failed to pass turnout thresholds, leaving it to Parliament to settle the issue.
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.
His comments were met with skepticism from Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos in Athens.