Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greece’s foreign minister with a civil oath before President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Saturday, officially taking over the helm of the ministry from Nikos Kotzias, who resigned on Wednesday.
Tsipras then made his way to the foreign ministry for the handover ceremony, where he thanked his predecessor and stressed that this was a historic day for Greece’s foreign policy following the vote in favour of the Prespes Agreement in FYROM’s parliament on Friday night.
“You leave on a joyful day for our foreign policy; not only because the way has opened for the implementation of a historic agreement with our neighbours, which creates prospects of prosperity and peace in our region, but also because the European Commission has approved the Greek budget without any cuts to pensions after eight years of austerity, something that opens the day for happier days for the Greek people,” Tsipras said.
He also thanked Kotzias for his contribution and noted what stood out in their cooperation “are not just his indisputable abilities but also his sense of patriotic duty.”
Tsipras also referred to relations with Turkey, saying that Athens had made it clear that it will not tolerate any violation of Greece’s territorial rights.
“We kept channels of communication with Turkey open, making it clear that we will not accept any violation of our territorial rights,” he said, while noting that Greece had managed to get very close to the fairest and most viable solution to the Cyprus issue to date.
Regarding the foreign ministry’s secret funds, Tsipras noted that the government had created a framework to enhance transparency and institutional safeguards against their misuse, putting an end to “wanton use of funds in black bags that we had denounced”.
He could brief the head of the main opposition on how these special funds had been disposed to the last euro, he added, noting that “we will not allow anyone to damage the prestige of Greek foreign policy.”