'Historic solution': Macedonia agrees to a new name after 27-year dispute

'Historic solution': Macedonia agrees to a new name after 27-year dispute

Macedonia has agreed to change its name to Northern Macedonia in order to end a decades-old row with Greece, which among other things prevented the former Yugoslav republic from joining the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

We have a good agreement that covers all of the conditions put forth by the Greek side.

The nationality of the country's citizens will be listed on official documents as "Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of Macedonia".

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

Greece had also blocked the country from negotiating with the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It is now known formally at the United Nations under the interim name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

"This historic agreement is testament to many years of patient diplomacy, and to the willingness of these two leaders to solve a dispute which has affected the region for too long", said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a statement.

In Athens, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the deal "historic". In the 4th Century BC, the Macedonian Empire ruled by Alexander the Great included what is now modern Greece.

The accord still requires ratification by the two national parliaments and a referendum in Macedonia, a tough test for the leaders in both countries.


Greece will then back invitations for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and start negotiations on joining the EU. Macedonia will also have to change its constitution, according to Zaev.

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.

Both governments have faced criticism ahead of the compromise and on Tuesday Macedonia's President Gjorge Ivanov signalled his concern.

A bronze statue of Alexander the Great can be seen in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Greece.

But Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, whose right-wing Independent Greeks party is Tsipras' junior coalition partner, said he would reject the name agreement in a parliamentary vote.

"This is a bad agreement that is in conflict with the majority of the Greek people", he said.

Under the agreement, the agreed name, the Republic of North Macedonia, will be used internationally and domestically, an issue that was a priority for Greece. By adopting the same identity in 1991, the new nation comprised by a Slavic population who have no historical or cultural connection to the Ancient Macedonians from whom the name derives infuriated many Greeks, who suspected their northern neighbor of territorial ambitions and cultural appropriation.

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and commissioner Johannes Hahn issued a joint statement congratulating the two prime ministers "in reaching this historic agreement between their countries, which contributes to the transformation of the entire region of southeast Europe".

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