Macedonia Gets New Name, Ending 27-Year Dispute With Greece

13 June, 2018, 16:59 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute

Macedonia has agreed to change its name, bringing an end to a 27-year long dispute with neighbouring Greece.

The announcement came after telephone talks with Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, on Tuesday.

The nationality of the country's citizens will be listed in official documents in English as "Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia", Greek officials said.

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov repeated his concerns about the deal, which he has said should not change the way Macedonians refer to their country internally or require constitutional changes.

The move aims to appease Greece, which had opposed the Republic's use of Macedonia, because it sees it as an implication to territorial claims over Greece's northern region of Macedonia.

It was only with the adoption of a provisional name - the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) - that the country was finally admitted into the United Nations in 1993.

The solution to the dispute opens the door for the European Union summit on 28-29 June to decide to greenlight the start of accession talks with the Republic of North Macedonia, and for the NATO summit on 11-12 July to extend a membership invitation. "There is no way back", Zaev told a news conference.

Due to Greek opposition to its northern neighbor sharing a name with a Greek province, Macedonia has been recognized by the United Nations and other worldwide organizations as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Macedonia was a republic under the former Yugoslavia and initially lacked state identity.

The proposed name change has been resisted by sections of the Macedonian public.

Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute
Macedonia agrees to new name after 27-year dispute with Greece

Protests in Greece have existed for decades but were renewed earlier this year following UN-mediated talks between the two countries to try and resolve the issue that did not yield an agreement.

'This will set Skopje on its path to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership.

Organisers of past rallies in Greece's main cities against a compromise with Macedonia also expressed anger over the deal, with one accusing Mr Tsipras of "high treason".

Mickoski charged that Prime Minister Zoran Zaev "capitulated" to Greece in making the deal.

'I am keeping my fingers crossed, ' he said.

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

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

The accord "will certainly open Macedonia's way first to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, then to EU talks", Vessela Tcherneva, deputy director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, said by phone from Sofia, the capital of neighbouring Bulgaria.

The doors to further Western expansion in the Balkans have been thrown wide open by a seeming breakthrough on the Macedonia name dispute.

Changes in Skopje became possible only after Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of EPP-supported VMRO-DPMNE was replaced by the social-democrat Zoran Zaev.


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