Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias resigns after tussle with Defence Minister

EPA-EFE/ANDREJ CUKIC

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias looks on before the meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic (not pictured) in Belgrade, Serbia, April 11, 2018. Kotzias resigned from his post as Greek Foreign Minister on October 17.

Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias resigns after tussle with Defence Minister


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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias submitted his resignation which was accepted Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after several days of feuding with Defense Minister Panos Kammenos over the Prespes Agreement.

Kammenos visited Washington last week and made a proposal for a Balkan military alliance which many in Athens and elsewhere saw as undermining the Prespes Agreement, which sought to end the Name Dispute with Macedonia/FYROM.

epa07099956 Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras exits his office, Maximos Mansion, to make statements to the press after the resignation of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias (not pictured), in Athens, 17 October 2018. Tsipras thanked Kotzias warmly for his contribution to the government and the country in the last 3.5 years. The Prime Minister also announced that he will be taking over the leadership of the foreign ministry in order to assist in the successful conclusion of the Prespes Agreement.  EPA-EFE/YANNIS KOLESIDIS

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras exits his office, Maximos Mansion, to make statements to the press after the resignation of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in Athens, October 17, 2018. EPA-EFE/YANNIS KOLESIDIS

A loud clash with Kammenos in the Greek cabinet meeting on Tuesday was the ostensible cause for Kotzias’ action, wherein Kammenos reportedly claimed Kotzias was mismanaging secret foreign ministry reserve funds and closely coordinating other efforts with billionaire George Soros.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras has assumed Kotzias’ responsibilities in order to handle the ratification procedures required by the Prespes Agreement.

It is too early to assess whether we are any closer to general elections in Greece, which most analysts now predict will occur in May 2019, but as a stand-alone event, Kotzias’ resignation will not alter the electoral mathematics or trigger elections.  The impact of the resignation in Skopje will most likely be to further stiffen the opposition’s resistance to any compromise on the constitutional changes now under discussion there and will probably guarantee new elections will need to be called soon if there is any hope of ratifying the Prespes Agreement.

 

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