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Greece's PM faces confidence vote after coalition ally quits

Greece's PM faces confidence vote after coalition ally quits

Defence Minister Panos Kammenos withdrew his party's support, signalling his opposition ahead of an expected vote in the Greek parliament.

Panos Kammenos, Greece's defence minister, said he had tendered his resignation during talks with Alexis Tsipras and withdrawn his ministers from the government.

After meeting with Mr Tsipras earlier Sunday, Mr Kammenos said "the Macedonia issue does not allow me not to sacrifice my post".

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said he will call a confidence vote after his governing coalition split over the Macedonia name change.

If Kammenos refuses to back down, Tsipras hopes to rely on lawmakers from the small pro-EU To Potami party to get the agreement approved.

"I have taken my decision and have informed the president of parliament that we will immediately move to the process outlined by the constitution for the renewal of the confidence in my government", Tsipras told journalists.

He said his party is quitting the government.

Talking to reporters after their meeting, Tsipras thanked Kammenos for his "irreplacable and significant" contribution to the coalition government, and said that their partnership was frank and fruitful. Polls indicate it will probably fail to obtain the minimum three percent of the popular vote needed to meet the Greek parliamentary election threshold.

"Our parliament found the strength but it wasn't easy".

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Greece frustrated Macedonia's aspirations to European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ties over the name dispute.

"The United States sees this as a historic opportunity to advance stability, security and prosperity throughout the region", Pompeo said in a statement released from Washington.

Zaev, who came to power in May 2017, is now looking to his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras to uphold his end of the deal, which the pair brokered previous year.

Greece has long demanded Skopje change its country name to remove what Athens considered to be an implied claim to Greek sovereign territory.

Zaev said he was "convinced that Greek lawmakers will recognise the historical significance of the agreement".

The naming row between the two countries began 27 years ago when FYROM declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but has roots going back to antiquity.

Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because it has a northern province of the same name.

After the fall of the Greek Empire, the Romans - who admired Alexander - used the old name Macedonia for the province encompassing much of northern Greece and the area north of it - including much of the modern-day Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Last June, Zaev and Tsipras reached a landmark compromise over the name dispute.


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