Greek junior coalition partner and defense minister Panos Kammenos on Friday denied that he is an "outgoing minister" during a session of Parliament's defense committee and ahead of a much-awaited meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during which the former's anticipated departure from the government due to his opposition to the Prespes deal was expected to be discussed.
Kammenos's comment came in response to objections by conservative opposition New Democracy during the session. The opposition party said it would leave the committee session, which was discussing offsets in an F16 deal, citing the minister's reported comments to armed forces chiefs on Wednesday according to which his resignation was imminent. ND said such critical issues cannot be discussed with an "outgoing minister."
"I am not an outgoing minister nor am I about to resign," Kammenos retorted as ND MPs were leaving the session. " I have neither submitted my resignation, nor can ND prejudge the outcome in Skopje," Kammenos said, referring to a vote on the Prespes deal which is expected to happen in the capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in due course. (Kammenos has repeatedly said that he would quit when the deal comes to Greece's Parliament following its approval in FYROM.)
Kammenos condemned ND's stance as "offensive," claiming that it changed position.
Earlier, ND's Constantinos Tasoulas had described the proceedings as "politically and constitutionally unacceptable, and taking place under unprecedented conditions, with an outgoing defense minister. Yesterday's statement by the minister that he is handing over his duties obliges ND to discuss such important issues with his successor. We are leaving the discussion."