Macedonia Has Just Changed Its Name To End Dispute With Greece

Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Zoran Zaev hailed a "historic solution" on Tuesday after Skopje and Athens resolved a longstanding row by agreeing to rename his country the Republic of North Macedonia.

On the timeline of the deal, Tsipras said that it would be first signed by the two countries' foreign ministers and then ratified by Macedonia's parliament.

"I'm happy because we have a good deal which covers all the preconditions set by the Greek side", he told Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during a televised meeting.

There was no immediate comment from Macedonian officials.

The prime minister of Greece says his country has reached an agreement with Macedonia to end a decades-old dispute over the neighboring country's name.

Due to the name dispute, Greece has vetoed all of attempts by Skopje to join both the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Greece has been insisting that use of the name "Macedonia" implies a territorial claim to Greece's own northern province of Macedonia, and a claim to Greece's ancient heritage.

In the 1995 interim bilateral accord, Greece agreed that the term "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) would be applied to Macedonia until the dispute is settled.

Zaev said the deal would open the way for the tiny Balkan nation's eventual membership of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, now blocked by Greece's objections to its use of the name Macedonia.

NATO and European Union officials welcomed the breakthrough, which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said would help consolidate regional peace and stability.

Today (June 12), leaders from both nations said a final agreement may well have been reached.

Both Albania and Macedonia hope to launch full membership negotiations with the European Union. Macedonia will also have to change its constitution, according to Zaev. I believe in the democracy of the internet and want to keep this site and its enriching content free for everyone.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted his support for the agreement: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible".

Organizers of past rallies in Greece's main cities against a compromise with Macedonia also expressed outrage at the deal, with one accusing Tsipras of "high treason".

In Skopje, meanwhile, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said earlier in the day that he remained opposed to writing the new name into the constitution, a move meant to show the change is permanent and binding for domestic and worldwide use.

"We wholeheartedly congratulate Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev for their determination and leadership in reaching this historic agreement between their countries, which contributes to the transformation of the entire region of South-East Europe", Hahn and Mogherini said in a joint statement.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, a hardline junior coalition partner in Tsipras's government, earlier dismissed talk of a deal, saying there was "no chance" Zaev could get it approved.

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