Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R, Front) shakes hands with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the presidential office in Athens, Greece, on Oct. 20, 2018. Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greece's Foreign Minister before Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Saturday, officially taking over the helm of the ministry from Nikos Kotzias, who resigned on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Giorgos Kontarinis)
by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greece's Foreign Minister before Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Saturday, officially taking over the helm of the ministry from Nikos Kotzias, who resigned on Wednesday.
During the handover ceremony, the Greek leader said that it was a historic day for Greece following the vote in favor of the Prespes Agreement in Former Yugloslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) parliament on Friday night.
The agreement reached between the two neighboring countries and signed at Prespes lake in June this year, puts an end to a dispute which started in 1991 when FYROM declared independence from Yugoslavia and chose the name Macedonia.
Greece objected to this development from the beginning fearing possible territorial claims raised in the future, given that Macedonia is also the name of a northern Greek province.
Under June's deal which also needs to be ratified by the Greek parliament in coming months, FYROM will be renamed "Republic of North Macedonia."
During the handover ceremony on Saturday Tsipras thanked Kotzias for his efforts to resolve the name row with Skopje, other major challenges for the country's foreign affairs and improve Greece's image which had been battered in the years of the debt crisis which started in 2010.
"Today we can say with no doubt that the government took over in a difficult time in 2015 when the country had suffered great damage not only in the economy," Tsipras said in joint statements to the press broadcast by Greek national broadcaster ERT.
"(Greece) was not only teetering at the brink of default and had lost credibility in front of international markets, our partners and creditors as a pariah state in world economy, but had suffered also a major part of its value in the geopolitical field," he added.
"I would like to thank the Prime minister for the honor and the opportunity he gave to me to deal with the issues of foreign affairs. We are always smaller compared with the problems, but in our efforts to resolve them, we become bigger," Kotzias said on his part.
Kotzias submitted his resignation, following a clash with Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, the head of the junior party in the coalition government, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.