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Athens, Skopje Reach Agreement on Constitutional Name of Macedonia

12 June 2018

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras said in a televised statement on Tuesday that the name change of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to "Republic of North Mecedonia" would be reflected both domestically and overseas.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras leaves the Presidential Palace following his meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (not pictured) in Athens, Greece, June 12, 2018.

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

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev reiterated during a press conference his pledge to hold a referendum on the new name in the fall.

The name dispute has poisoned relations between the two countries since Macedonia's independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and has prevented Macedonia from joining worldwide institutions such as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union. A former republic of Yugoslavia, Macedonia broke away in 1991, and its name is recognized by the vast majority of countries around the world, including the U.S.

Athens, which has a northern region also called Macedonia bordering on the ex-Yugoslav republic, objected to the name, demanding it be changed. Tsipras was widely expected to give a state address later in the day.

Mr Tsipras had earlier spoken to his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev, who said the deal preserves Macedonian ethnic and cultural identity.

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. A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit is scheduled for mid-July.

Athens, Skopje Reach Agreement on Constitutional Name of Macedonia