The coalition with SYRIZA will continue until the end of the term, said junior coalition partner Panos Kammenos on Monday, putting an end to speculation that his relationship with Alexis Tsipras has soured.
The ANEL chief – who is also defense minister – opposes the use of the term “Macedonia” in the naming of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and it is rumored that he had a fallout with Tsipras over the controversial issue.
Kammenos dismissed all scenarios that he had a rift with the prime minister, stressing that his co-operation with Tsipras will go to the end. He said that the relationship between the two political partners is “honest and public”.
ANEL lawmakers also oppose the use of the term “Macedonia” in the name of Greece’s Balkan neighbor, signifying that the two coalition partners are not in the best of terms at the moment.
“We have made it clear that we do not accept any solution that includes the term “Macedonia”,” Kammenos told reporters. “Neither north, nor south nor east nor west. Macedonia is one and is Greek. From that point on we expect Skopje to make some constitutional changes. Let’s see. A prerequisite for a solution is constitutional changes in FYROM. This condition has been set by Mr Tsipras and Mr Kotzias. Let’s see what steps the other side will take.”
Another issue that has led political analysts to speak of a rift between the two men is a previous statement Kammenos made about the two Greek soldiers held in Turkey after accidentally crossing the border line between the two countries. The defense minister had previously called the men in custody “hostages”, a description not liked by Maximos Mansion and criticized by the government spokesman.
On Monday, however, Kammenos reiterated his position that the two junior officers jailed in Edirne are “hostages”. He added that the Greek government will do whatever it takes to bring them back.