Greece: Mini-ministerial fails to solve government coalition rift over name issue

Greece: Mini-ministerial fails to solve government coalition rift over name issue
'A mini-ministerial meeting', convened by Premier Alexis Tsipras in Athens, has ended after little over two hours with ministers Nikos Kotzias and Panos Kammenos retaining their well-known, firm positions, MIA reports from the Greek capital.

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias left the meeting to speak with members of the media giving optimistic statements. He said that a solution was needed that would include a compound erga omnes name. Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, junior government coalition partner, said his position remained unchanged and he disagreed with the term Macedonia being included in the country's name. The minister, however, said that he trusted Kotzias and that a national solution would be sought.

FM Kotzias said 2018 would be the year when foreign policy issues would be resolved.

Involving the name issue, Kotzias said the government continued to support and negotiate for a single compound name for all uses, as already proposed by Greece in Bucharest. He added that the government was in favour of consulting with all the parties and political forces in the country on the matter.

Asked by reporters outside the prime ministerial's seat in Athens if he was optimistic, he replied: "I am always optimistic".

Minister Kammenos said he maintained his position stressing that the decision of the 1992 leaders' meeting was still enforced, MIA reports.

According to him, there are two important decisions involving the 'Skopje issue.' The first one is the decision of the party leaders in 1992, and the second one is the Bucharest (NATO summit) decision. "I believe that the negotiations should continue and I have faith in the minister of foreign affairs," Kammenos told reporters.

Asked whether he maintained the position of a name without the term Macedonia, Kammenos - leader of the right-wing party Independent Greeks - referred again to the 1992 leaders' meeting in which it was decided that a compound name should not include 'Macedonia'.

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