Greece and Macedonia reach deal to end decades-old name dispute

Jean Claude Juncker Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras

Greece has reached a deal on the name of its northern neighbor, which named itself Republic of Macedonia following the break up of Yugoslavia nearly three decades ago.

Tsipras' comments came shortly after a much-anticipated phone call with Zaev.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that all of Greece's concerns had been addressed with the new name, according to the Associated Press.

Officials in Greece and Macedonia say Tuesday, June 12, 2018, they are close to reaching a landmark deal on a long-standing name dispute, to protect Greece's region of Macedonia, birthplace of ancient warrior king Alexander the Great, but the Greek coalition partner has vowed to vote against the proposed agreement.

Greece has been insisting that use of the name "Macedonia" implies a territorial claim to Greece's own northern province of Macedonia, and a claim to Greece's ancient heritage.

The Greek government has spent 27 years fighting with Macedonia over the use of the name, which references ancient Macedonia and by association its famous leader, Alexander the Great.

European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials have welcomed a deal between Greece and Macedonia resolving a decades-long dispute over the Balkan country's name.

Greece's parliament will be called to ratify the agreement after Macedonian lawmakers approve it, provided that Skopje fulfils preliminary European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation requirements to begin membership talks, Kotzias said.

The new name will now have to be approved by Macedonians via a referendum, as well as the Republic's parliament.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev
GETTYThe tiny Balkan country has repeatedly tried to join both the EU and Nato

"The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" is no more, stated Zaev, and added that the agreement envisions a confirmation of the Macedonian language without footnotes, and guarantees Macedonian ethnic and cultural identity and nationality.

It was admitted to the United Nations as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, because of Greece's objection.

If you're planning to travel to Macedonia to see its attractive scenery and historic destinations, it might be good to check the exact name of the country before you leave. "Our bid in the compromise is a defined and precise name, the name that is honorable and geographically precise - Republic of Northern Macedonia".

On Tuesday the two sides agreed it should be named the "Republic of North Macedonia", ending the lingering and bitter row.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted his support for the agreement: 'Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible'.

NATO and European Union officials welcomed the breakthrough, which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said would help consolidate regional peace and stability. I believe in the democracy of the internet and want to keep this site and its enriching content free for everyone.

In Skopje, the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, said Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev had informed party leader Hristijan Mickoski that he had "achieved a solution with Greece".

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

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