The leader of the junior partner in Greece's coalition government and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos suggested that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had been briefed on his intention to present an alternative plan to the name deal Athens signed with Skopje in June to settle a decades-old name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Speaking to state broadcaster ERT on Monday morning, Kammenos, who heads the small nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL) party and is opposed to the so-called Prespes agreement with FYROM, said that he is “in complete harmony” with his coalition partner.
His comments come in the wake of criticism that he was trying to push through his nationalist party's own foreign policy agenda, after he presented American officials during a visit to the United States last week with an alternative plan to the current name deal that would involve some kind of western Balkan alliance.
“The prime minister and I are always in communication,” Kammenos said, two days after Tsipras denied there being any such alternative plan for the name agreement.
“On the basis of our charter, we [ANEL] did not agree to cede the name 'Macedonia' to the neighboring country, but we did not prevent the government from having a dialogue and showing that our country is open to a solution,” Kammenos said.
Kammenos also dismissed allegations of Russian involvement in last month's referendum in FYROM on the name deal, claiming that billionaire George Soros has handed out “billions” to “irrendentist organizations” in FYROM, yet “no one is speaking up.”
He accused the Hungarian-American investor of branding Greece as the “ogre” of the Balkans.