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13 June 2018, 12:42 | Darnell Patrick
Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute
Zaev said the deal would open the way for the tiny Balkan nation's eventual membership of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, now blocked by Greece's objections to its use of the name Macedonia.
The new name - which in Macedonian is Severna Makedonija - will be used both domestically and internationally, while Macedonia will also amend its constitution as part of the deal.
By solving the dispute which has lingered for more than 25 years, Macedonia will remove the biggest obstacle on its path towards European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession.
Greece and Macedonia have reached an historic accord to resolve a dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name that has troubled relations between the two neighbours for decades. In the 4th Century BC, the Macedonian Empire ruled by Alexander the Great included what is now modern Greece.
Greece argued that by calling itself Republic of Macedonia the neighboring country was stating a territorial claim of the Greek northern province, also called Macedonia.
Greece's Alexis Tsipras and Macedonia's Zoran Zaev said the former Yugoslav republic's new name for both domestic and global purposes would be Republic of Northern Macedonia.
Skopje hopes that with a solution in hand, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will extend an invitation to join and the European Union will allow the start of Macedonian accession talks as early as this summer.
"This achieves a clear distinction between Greek Macedonia and our northern neighbours and puts an end to the irredentism which their current constitutional name implies", he said.
Basically, way back in 1991 the two countries fell out when Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia. Tusk said: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible", he said. "And it will help to consolidate peace and stability across the wider Western Balkans".
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
"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.
"We have a deal", Mr Tsipras said.
He did not, however, spell out what the name will be.
Greece had long demanded that Macedonia change or modify its name to avoid any claim to the territory and heritage of the region, the birthplace of Alexander the Great.
Mr Tsipras said the deal met the concerns of Greece that a revised name for Macedonia be a "compound" name with a geographical qualifier.
"We don't agree and we won't vote for any deal including the name 'Macedonia, '" Panos Kammenos, Greek Defense Minister and head of the rightist Independent Greeks party, said.
The 27-year dispute has led to frequent disagreement and protests, but the two countries agreed on the new title of the former Yugoslav republic after months of intensive diplomacy.
A resolution of the dispute would see Greece lift objection to Macedonia's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
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