Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute

Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute

"There is an agreement".

However, previous administrations in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, have resisted demands to change or modify the name.

It was only with the adoption of a provisional name - the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) - that the country was finally admitted into the United Nations in 1993.

"We have been solving a two-and-a-half-decade dispute that has been drowning the country", he said, adding that the deal "will strengthen the Macedonian identity".

Under the agreement, the agreed name, the Republic of North Macedonia, will be used internationally and domestically, an issue that was a priority for Greece.

The prime ministers have agreed to refer to Macedonia as the Republic of Northern Macedonia or Severna Makedonija, in the Macedonian language.

Are you happy both sides have resolved the issue?

"Today is a hard day for the Republic of Macedonia". "We strongly believe that the European Union Council on June 28 will decide to start accession talks with the Republic of Macedonia".

Basically, way back in 1991 the two countries fell out when Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia. He has to muster a two-thirds parliamentary majority to change the country's constitution.

He added that a meeting between the two could take place.

Greek opponents of the deal say it would not go far enough. Tusk said: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

'I am keeping my fingers crossed, ' he said.

The nationality of the country's citizens will be listed on official documents in English as "Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia", Greek officials said.

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the settlement will have "positive repercussions" in Europe and beyond, and hopes it will inspire others to negotiate deals to end other "protracted conflicts". Zaev didn't rule out holding a snap vote with the referendum this year or with presidential elections in 2019.

But the breakthrough is now likely to see European Union leaders open accession talks with Macedonia at a summit in June and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation invite Macedonia to join the military alliance at a summit in July.

The proposed name change has been resisted by sections of the Macedonian public.

"The government signed a capitulation because of his (the prime minister's) incompetence to lead the negotiations and he accepted every request made by Greece", said Mickoski.

In 1994 Greece imposed an economic embargo on Macedonia and prevented it from using the port at Thessaloniki, Skopje's main trading post.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that all of Greece's concerns had been addressed with the new name, according to the Associated Press.

In Greece, Tsipras' conservative rival Kyriakos Mitsotakis also denounced the deal as a "bad agreement".

"There's no way back", Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev said.

Stoltenberg said: "This will set Skopje on its path to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership".

"We must now make good use of the window of opportunity that has been pushed wide open to accompany and consolidate the winds of peace and cooperation in the entire region".

The US State Department also issued congratulations, also commending United Nations mediator Mathhew Nimetz, who is a US diplomat, for his work.

Ancient Macedonia was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire, a point of pride to Greeks today.

In Skopje meanwhile, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said earlier in the day that he remained opposed to a constitutional change that would likely be included in the draft deal, to provide an assurance that the name change was permanent and binding for domestic and global use. The Bulgarian dialect spoken there was gradually filled with Serbian words.

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