Macedonia and Greece Announce Historic 'Name' Deal

Greeks protest the use of the name Macedonia

A decades-long dispute over the name of the tiny nation of Macedonia at last reached a peaceful conclusion Tuesday, with the Balkan nation agreeing with Greece to change its name to "North Macedonia".

"We have a deal, I'm happy because we have a good deal which covers all the preconditions set by the Greek side", said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

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

The long-running dispute has centred on Greece's objection to Macedonia's name, which has prompted it to block its neighbour from joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union until it is changed.

Greece's parliament will be called to ratify the agreement after Macedonian lawmakers approve it, provided that Skopje fulfils preliminary European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation requirements to begin membership talks, Kotzias said.

Speaking at a news conference in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, Zaev described the deal as a "historic agreement of the century".

The current prime ministers' attempts to end the dispute have faced dissent in both countries, leading to large protests by opponents of a compromise, threatening to split Greece's governing coalition and provoking a rift between Macedonia's prime minister and president.

Ever since the Republic of Macedonia declared its independence in 1991, Greece has been fighting the country over its name. Protesters this spring called for a United Nations resolution demanding recognition of the country under the name of Macedonia.

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Macedonia and Greece Announce Historic 'Name' Deal

Many Greeks felt their northern neighbor was trying to hijack Greece's ancient cultural heritage.

The two nations settled on a name- certain to incite controversy amongst many Greeks both inside the country, as well as outside her borders.

Greece is to ratify the deal in parliament after Macedonia has made the necessary changes to its constitution, Tsipras said.

The deal was welcomed by EU officials, with European Council president Donald Tusk tweeting his "sincere congratulations" to Mr Tsipras and Mr Zaev.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg added: "This historic agreement is testament to many years of patient diplomacy and to the willingness of these two leaders to solve a dispute which has affected the region for too long". I believe in the democracy of the internet and want to keep this site and its enriching content free for everyone.

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.

But before that, he said the agreement will be put to parliament for ratification in order not to waste any time and to allow Greece to lift its blockade on Macedonia's potential membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU. Athens say that name implies territorial claims on a northern Greek province of the same name.

The Greek prime minister will now inform the country's president and will later give a televised statement.

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