Macedonia Has Just Changed Its Name To End Dispute With Greece

Greece, Macedonia 'Have A Deal' On Name Dispute

Greece, Macedonia 'Have A Deal' On Name Dispute

Officials in Greece and Macedonia say Tuesday, June 12, 2018, they are close to reaching a landmark deal on a long-standing name dispute, to protect Greece's region of Macedonia, birthplace of ancient warrior king Alexander the Great, but the Greek coalition partner has vowed to vote against the proposed agreement.

Both governments have faced criticism ahead of the compromise and on Tuesday Macedonia's President Gjorge Ivanov signalled his concern.

"The name change will be implemented not only the country's global relations but also domestically", Tsipras said adding that Skopje would need to revise its constitution.

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

The prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia have agreed on a new name for the latter country - the Republic of Northern Macedonia - ending a bitter 27-year dispute. In the 4th Century BC, the Macedonian Empire ruled by Alexander the Great included what is now modern Greece.

Greece regards "Macedonia" as a term referring only to one of its northern regions and the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, and insists on the use of another name for its northern neighbor.

They also urged the Council to endorse opening EU accession talks with Macedonia, which the European Commission recommended in April.

Basically, way back in 1991 the two countries fell out when Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia.

"Maybe what has the most historic gravity and value for Greece (is that) according to this accord. our northern neighbours don't have, and can not assert, any link to the ancient Greek culture of Macedonia", Tsipras said in a televised address on Tuesday evening. "And it will help to consolidate peace and stability across the wider Western Balkans".

Greece's Alexis Tsipras and Macedonia's Zoran Zaev made the announcements shortly after speaking by phone. Tusk said: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

In a televised address, Tsipras said the 140 countries which had recognized the Balkan state simply as Macedonia would now recognize it as Republic of Northern Macedonia.

Skopje also needs to revise its constitution, Tsipras said, before Greece ratifies the deal.

"We wholeheartedly congratulate Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev for their determination and leadership in reaching this historic agreement", said EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn in a joint statement.

But Macedonia feared that a name change could have a negative impact on the national identity of its people, the majority of whom simply call themselves "Macedonians".

The name would be the Republic of North Macedonia, subject to approval.

The new name will need to be approved by the Macedonian people and the Greek parliament, but by the sounds of things it's a goer.

A resolution of the dispute would see Greece lift objection to Macedonia's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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