Greek PM takes over as foreign minister, says wont tolerate dissent

Greek FM resigns, Tsipras to finalise Macedonia deal personally

Nikos Kotzias, who resigned Wednesday as foreign minister, suggested Thursday that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had unfairly removed him from the cabinet following a rift in the coalition over the Prespes agreement.

According to the official announcement, Kotzias tendered his resignation on Wednesday.

A 67-year-old career diplomat and university professor, Kotzias had held the foreign ministry post since Tsipras' leftist government came to power in 2015 and was one of his most experienced and valued ministers.

Tsipras takes over the Foreign Ministry portfolio to help in the successful implementation of the agreement on the name issue with FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), the statement read.

As he departed the PM Residence on his way to Brussels for the meeting with the European Union leaders, Tsipras made a statement to the members of the press in which he thanked Kotzias "for his precious contribution all these years in upgrading the country's geopolitical role" and said it "pained him" to accept his resignation.

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It should be made clear that the Foreign Minister does not belong to SYRIZA (party) but is politically involved as he represents the movement of ideas and action "Pratto" (in Greek "I act"), a movement that has penetrated into society and has been strengthened in recent years, with the mobilisation of its executives, the successful policy of the Foreign Minister, which has reversed the image of Greece from negative to positive, highlighting its geostrategic role and adding further value to it in the worldwide scene.

"In addition, I will not accept from anyone, consciously or not, to disrupt the country's smooth course towards the exit from the crisis, the final exit from the memoranda which made Greek people suffer in the past eight years", he stressed. "Greece and my government will fulfill the requirements of global obligations", he said.

"There comes a time, as the poem says, where you have to decide whom you will join and whom it is you'll leave", Kotzias tweeted after his resignation. It's good to remember, however, the lyric: "they tried to bury me deep, they forgot I was a seed".

A day earlier, Kotzias had clashed in a cabinet meeting with Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, who strongly opposes the Macedonia deal but is a crucial coalition partner for the Tsipras government.

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

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