Greece's Alexis Tsipras Assumes Role of Foreign Minister

(Bloomberg) -- Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assumed the role of Foreign Minister Wednesday after accepting the resignation of Nikos Kotzias.

Kotzias was unhappy following an argument with Defense Minister Panos Kammenos at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

“I won’t accept any deviation and personal strategy that goes against the country’s national policy and I won’t allow anyone to disrupt the smooth course of the country toward a clear exit from the crisis and bailout programs,” Tsipras said in live televised comments.

The former foreign minister was responsible for negotiating the agreement with the Republic of Macedonia over the country’s name, which has been the subject of a decades-long dispute between Greece and its northern neighbor. Kammenos opposes the accord and has repeatedly said that he will not support the deal in a parliamentary vote.

Tsipras assumed the role to steer through the name accord with Macedonia. Greece won’t accept the accession of Macedonia into the European Union and NATO if the neighboring country’s constitutional name is Republic of Macedonia, he said. “There won’t be another opportunity.”

Lawmakers in Macedonia started discussions Oct. 15 over a constitutional amendment renaming the country of 2 million as “the Republic of North Macedonia.” Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has threatened to call a snap election before the end of the year if he fails to secure a two-thirds majority in parliament to pass the amendment.

Tsipras said his decision to assume the role of foreign minister sends a message of his determination to do “whatever it takes” to conclude an agreement with Macedonia over the country’s name.

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