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Macedonia and Greece Announce Historic 'Name' Deal

13 June 2018

Neighbouring Macedonia and Greece announced on Tuesday they have reached a historic compromise solution to their decades-long name dispute, agreeing that Macedonia will use the composite name "Republic of North Macedonia".

Mitsotakis said that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did not have any "political legitimacy" to commit the country to a deal that is not approved by his junior government coalition partner, the Independent Greeks (ANEL).

Macedonia will now be named Republic of North Macedonia after its prime minister reached an agreement with his Greek counterpart.

Athens, which like all members of both organisations has a veto over admissions, objected to its neighbour's use of the name Macedonia, arguing that it, along with articles in the constitution, could imply territorial claims over its own northern region of the same name. Macedonia is the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

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

Macedonia, the name of the ex-Yugoslav republic since its independence in 1991, has poisoned relations between Athens and Skopje for almost three decades.

Ever since the Republic of Macedonia declared its independence in 1991, Greece has been fighting the country over its name.

But Macedonia clearly liked the name, too, meaning that there's been a massive stand-off for nearly 30 years, which has seen many protests and conflict. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in several major Greek cities, including Thessaloniki and Athens, calling for "Macedonia" to remain Greek.

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

Macedonia became a candidate for membership of the European Union in 2005 but Greece blocked the start of negotiations.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted his support for the agreement: 'Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible'. I believe in the democracy of the internet and want to keep this site and its enriching content free for everyone.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday's "historic agreement" was "testament to many years of patient diplomacy", and called on the two countries' prime ministers to finalize the deal.

The two prime ministers are expected to sign the agreement over the next weekend.

The United Nations envoy who mediated the dispute for two decades congratulated Tsipras and Zaev for resolving their differences.

Greek opponents of the deal say it would not go far enough. "We just saw a press conference where the defeat is shown as a fake victory", Hristijan Mickoski, president of opposition party VMRO-DPMNE said.

Zaev said that the deal will be put to a referendum in Macedonia in the autumn.

Macedonia and Greece Announce Historic 'Name' Deal