Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Athens, Skopje Reach Agreement on Constitutional Name of Macedonia

Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute Athens, Skopje Reach Agreement on Constitutional Name of Macedonia
Patty Aguilar | 13 June, 2018, 09:21

Protesters this spring called for a United Nations resolution demanding recognition of the country under the name of Macedonia.

For more than a year, Nimetz was U.S. President Bill Clinton's envoy on the issue of whether Macedonia could be called that.

Macedonia had proposed four names to resolve the dispute: Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Upper Macedonia, Republic of Vardar Macedonia and Republic of Macedonia (Skopje).

According to the BBC, its language will still be known as Macedonian, and its people will also be known as Macedonians - but citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia.

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

They also urged the Council to endorse opening EU accession talks with Macedonia, which the European Commission recommended in April.

The name dispute has soured relations between the two neighbours at least since 1991, when Macedonia broke away from former Yugoslavia.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg added: "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".

'This will set Skopje on its path to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership. Tusk said: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

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Athens and Skopje have been racing to agree the outline of a settlement before an European Union summit in late June.

Greece and Macedonia reached an historic agreement Tuesday to end a bitter 27-year name dispute that had kept the smaller and younger country out of global institutions such as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the two countries' prime ministers announced.

"We wholeheartedly congratulate Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev for their determination and leadership in reaching this historic agreement between their countries, which contributes to the transformation of the entire region of South-East Europe", Hahn and Mogherini said in a joint statement.

The "new" Slavic people calling themselves Macedonians did not help matters when they named the main airport in the capital, Skopje, after Ancient Greek hero Alexander the Great, as well as a key highway running from Skopje to the Greek border.

Tsipras says the name would be used by the country both domestically and internationally. He did not, however, spell out what the name will be.

Athens objected to its neighbor's new name, saying it implied a territorial claim over Greece's province of the same name, which borders the Balkan country.

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, whose right-wing Independent Greeks party is Tsipras' government partner, said Tuesday he would oppose an agreement in a parliamentary vote.

Officials had earlier told Reuters a deal over the name was imminent.

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