The decision to assume the Foreign Ministry himself marks his “determination to do whatever possible to guarantee the successful completion of the historic Prespes Agreement,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said following the resignation of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.
Kotzias had led negotiations on the Greek side and signed the agreement with FYROM on the name issue earlier this year.
Tsipras sought to reassure the neighboring country, which is in the process of debating the agreement in its Parliament, that he fully supports the agreement that will upgrade Greece’s international standing, as he said.
In his statements outside the Maximos Mansion, where a cabinet meeting was held on Tuesday, Tsipras said he accepted Kotzias’ resignation “with a heavy heart”. He thanked Kotzias for his contribution these past 3.5 years in raising Greece’s profile in the region.
In addition, Tsipras warned that he will “not accept any double messages from now on from anyone, no personal opinion relating to the country’s national policy, expressed consciously or not, that may disrupt the country’s smooth path.”
Addressing himself to FYROM, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, “I encourage them to proceed with determination and courage,” warning that “there will be no other opportunity” to change the country’s name as a prerequisite to joining the EU and NATO.
In comments following the acceptance of the resignation of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who signed the Prespes Agreement on the name issue, Tsipras said Greece will never accept membership of FYROM with the current name “Republic of Macedonia”, and invited them to take a major step for peace in the BValkans.
“My government will do whatever its international obligations have set out,” Tsipras said.