Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accepted the resignation of his foreign minister on Wednesday, Greece's first major political casualty in a drive to end a decades-old name dispute with Macedonia.
Reportedly, Kotzias felt offended when Kammenos, who opposes a name change deal recently reached between Athens and Skopje (the so-called Prespa Agreement, after the name of the lake where it was signed), accused Kotzias of managing "secret funds". 17 the resignation of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, according to an e-mailed press statement issued from the Premier's office. An agreement in June between the Prime ministers of macedonia Zoran Zaev and Greek Alexis Tsipras plans to be baptized "Republic of northern Macedonia" this poor, small country in the Balkans.
"It marks my decision to not tolerate from now on any double talk from anyone, any personal strategies regarding national policy", Tsipras said speaking on camera to national broadcaster ERT.
Regarding the name deal, Tsipras sought to reassure the neighboring country, which is in the process of debating the agreement in its parliament these days, that Athens fully supports the agreement, adding that there will not be another chance.
Kotzias however doesn't seem to be prepared to let the matter rest, as he posted a tweet from his personal account in which he said that "There comes a time, as the poet says, when you need to decide who you will choose and who you will leave behind".
Unnamed government sources told the newspaper that Kotzias was dissatisfied over the fact that PM Tsipras had failed to support him against attacks from Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, who Kotzias had clashed with over the "name" agreement with Macedonia during a cabinet meeting the day prior. It's good to remember, however, the lyric: "they tried to bury me deep, they forgot I was a seed".
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.
Despite the two governments' strong commitment to the agreement which puts an end to a long-standing row, there are still strong reactions in both countries by opposition parties and citizens.
Since Macedonia declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, Greece has blocked the young republic's path to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership over objections to its use of the term Macedonia, arguing it implied a territorial claim on Greece's own northern Macedonia province.