Global News

Greece, Macedonia 'Have A Deal' On Name Dispute

Greece, Macedonia 'Have A Deal' On Name Dispute

"A short while ago we reached an agreement with the prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the disagreement our two countries have" over the name issue, Tsipras told President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

The prime ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev have agreed to refer to Macedonia as the Republic of Northern Macedonia or Severna Makedonija, as it is written in the Macedonian language.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said the deal would pave the way for the nation's eventual membership of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Resolving the dispute would see Greece lift its objections to Macedonia's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union.

He added that Macedonia "cannot and will not be able in the future to claim any connection with the ancient Greek civilisation of Macedonia".

Officials in Albania are hailing the agreement between bordering Greece and Macedonia to end their decades-long name dispute as good for the whole Western Balkans region.

Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev made the announcements shortly after speaking by phone on Tuesday.

According to The Wall Street Journal, many Greek nationalists may still continue to fight the battle over Macedonia's name, and "reject any non-Hellenic claim to the name, even in a composite form".

The United Nations envoy who has tried to mediate the name dispute between Greece and Macedonia for almost as long as the dispute has existed is congratulating the countries' prime ministers for resolving their differences.




United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz welcomed the news, expressing confidence that the agreement will strengthen relations between the two Balkan neighbors "and especially between their people". He added that a meeting between the two could take place.

In 2001, Greece, the only country in the region with EU, NATO and eurozone membership, expressed support for Skopje, faced by an armed conflict with ethnic Albanian rebels.

Zaev said that the definition of the country's language will remain "Macedonian", as Skopje insisted in the talks.

Protesters from across Greece converge in Athens to protest a potential Greek compromise in a dispute with neighbouring Macedonia. "Thanks to you, the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

Greece has long objected to its northern neighbour being called Macedonia because it has its own northern province of the same name.

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".

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also declared a deal had been struck.

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

However, several critics said the deal is problematic in certain areas - citing gray areas and the extensive time frame which includes several obstacles.


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