Greek PM calls confidence vote after minister quits over Macedonia deal

Alexis Tsipras has called a confidence vote after Defense Minister and coalition partner Panos Kammenos resigned

In a deal long opposed by Kammenos, the two countries agreed previous year to rename FYROM as the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

In reaction, Greece's Defence Minister Panos Kammenos resigned early January 13 and a vote of confidence in the remaining SYRIZA government is expected to be announced shortly.

"We will proceed immediately to the renewal of the confidence in our government by the parliament in order to proceed with the major issues for our country", he said.

He said any deal including "Macedonia" in the name of the Balkan state to Greece's north was unacceptable as the name was irrevocably tied to Greek civilization and culture.

Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati tweeted after the vote, saying "the contribution of Albanian political parties once again proved to be a decisive factor".

"The Macedonia name issue. doesn't allow me not to sacrifice the minister's chair", Kammenos said after meeting the prime minister on Sunday morning.

Prime Minister Tsipras still needs parliament to ratify the deal and that has become more hard.

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.

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The investigation, according to judicial sources, is looking into whether personal data was violated as part of the probe. It now needs backing from the Greek parliament to come into effect.

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.

Macedonia was founded in 1991 and recognized by the United Nations in 1993, but was accepted to the United Nations membership with the name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) due to Greek objection to the name Macedonia.

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

The proposal faces resistance in Greece, which has a northern province of the same name, over implied claims to Greek territory. "But I am convinced that the Greek parliament will also find the strength to make the decision", Zaev told a press conference in Skopje.

The accord aims to start unraveling one of the world's longest diplomatic disputes.

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.

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. Their efforts brought the pair a nomination for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

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