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Greek Government Split over ‘Macedonia’

Panos Kammenos confers with Alexis Tsipras during a recent parliamentary debate

Greece’s minister of defense Panos Kammenos says he will oppose an agreement that will grant FYROM any use of the name ‘Macedonia’.
Kammenos, a member of the Independent Greeks junior partner in the SYRIZA-led government coalition, said he disagrees with the policy pursued by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias who have repeatedly stated their intention to negotiate away the name.
Speaking in parliament on Wednesday evening during the Novartis case debate, the leader of the Independent Greeks vowed to do everything in his power to prevent a compromise solution.
“Of course I disagree with the government’s handling of the name issue. I have said so publicly,” he told lawmakers.
“Not only will I never vote for such a thing, but I will do everything in my power to prevent [the government] ceding the term Macedonia,” he added.
However, Kammenos reassured Tsipras that he will not undermine his government over the issue:
“We have a duty and a mandate from the Greek people to come together in this parliament as people who disagree with each other.”
In January, Kammenos demanded that a referendum should take place after an agreement is struck between Athens and Skopje on the name of the former Yugoslav republic.
“The Greek people should be able decide whether they would hand over their history and culture to another people,” he had said.

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