Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Greek PM says Macedonia's name change will be universal

Greek PM says Macedonia's name change will be universal

There was no immediate comment from Macedonian officials.

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. It is now known formally at the United Nations under the interim name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

The two nations settled on a name- certain to incite controversy amongst many Greeks both inside the country, as well as outside her borders.

Bulgaria, holder of the EU's rotating six-month presidency said the deal paved the way for accession talks.

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

He said that the accord would allow a clear distinction between Greece's Macedonia province and the country.

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

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"There is no way back", Mr Zaev told a news conference as he explained the decision.

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.

Skopje also needs to revise its constitution, Tsipras said, before Greece ratifies the deal.

Greece will then back invitations for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and start negotiations on joining the European Union. However, Tsipras said, this will be contingent on Macedonia completing the constitutional changes.

The deal was welcomed by European Union officials.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted his "sincere congratulations" to Greece's Alexis Tsipras and Macedonia's Zoran Zaev. "I am keeping my fingers crossed". So if you like The Pappas Post and want to help, please consider becoming a "philotimo subscriber".

The EU's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the deal "contributes to the transformation of the entire region of southeast Europe".

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They said they looked forward to accession negotiations beginning with Skopje in June.

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

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

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.

"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 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.

"In essence, the [deal] is acceptance of all Greek positions", VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said.

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Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati also congratulated "our neighbors & friends" for a "breakthrough agreement" that he said would lead the Balkans region to become part of the "Euro-Atlantic family".

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