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    Greek Prime minister Alexis Tsipras debates the future of Europe with parliament members and commissioners at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Tuesday Sept.11, 2018.

    Greek PM Tsipras Takes Post of Foreign Minister After Kotzias' Resignation

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    ATHENS (Sputnik) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras officially became the country's foreign affairs minister to hold both positions concurrently after the ceremony of transfer of powers on Saturday in the presidential palace in the presence of the head of state Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

    Tsipras was sworn in as the new foreign minister, and then the ceremony of handing over the affairs took place at the Greek Foreign Ministry. He warmly thanked his predecessor, Nikos Kotzias, who resigned a few days ago. According to the prime minister, Kotzias strengthened Greece's role on the international arena, created a new foreign policy doctrine, prepared and signed an agreement on the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    "In 2015, we received a country not only with economic problems, discredited in financial markets and among creditors, a pariah in the international economic arena, but also a country with a weakened geopolitical role. Today, the prestige and geopolitical opportunities of the country are strengthened. It is the leading power on the Balkans and the pillar of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean," Tsipras said, also supporting the actions of the former minister to expand the country's territorial waters to 12 miles.

    READ MORE: German, Greek Presidents Note Increase of Euroscepticism in Some Parts of EU

    Tsipras added that the former foreign minister had been a valuable employee and expressed hope for continued cooperation.

    Kotzias stated that he is the happiest minister retiring because he managed to achieve many goals. In his speech, he listed the Prespa Agreement on the new constitutional name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, improvement in relations with Albania and the Cyprus settlement among his major achievements.

    After resignation, Kotzias will remain a member of the Greek parliament. He also intends to teach at the university.

    Tsipras on Cyprus Problem

    The Greek Prime Minister, also noted that his country intends to seek the abolition of the system of guarantees and the withdrawal of foreign troops from Cyprus.

    "We came very close to a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem. This solution means, first of all, the abolition of guarantees and the rights of third countries to intervene and, of course, the withdrawal of the occupying forces, since the Cyprus problem is primarily a problem of invasion and occupation by foreign troops," he said.

    READ MORE: Greece Hopes to Solve Cyprus Issue After Name Change Deal With Macedonia

    He also stated that Greece retained communication channels with Turkey, but would not allow it to violate its sovereign rights.

    The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops occupied its northern part. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1983, but it is recognized as an independent state solely by Turkey, while the global community regards it as a part of the Republic of Cyprus. Numerous rounds of talks have been held, with the United Nations and the European Union promoting the negotiations, but no result has been reached.

    Related:

    Greece to Expand Territorial Waters to 12 Miles From Coastline
    Macedonia's Collapse to Be Worst-Case Scenario for Athens - Greek FM
    Greece to Host National Conference on Macedonian Naming Issue in October
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    resignation, Nikos Kotzias, Alexis Tsipras, Greece
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