Greek defence minister resigns over Macedonia name change
Greek defence minister resigns over Macedonia name change
Greece-FYR Macedonia dispute: MPs back historic name change to Republic of North Macedonia
13 January, 2019, 15:43
Macedonia's center-left government said Friday it has secured the required number of parliamentary votes to finalize constitutional changes that will rename the country North Macedonia and pave the way to NATO membership.
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The Macedonian parliament's ratification has been hailed by several foreign leaders, including NATO General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
Kammenos resigned following a Sunday morning meeting with Tsipras.
Tsipras said that he aims to hold a general election at the latest possible date, October 2019.
Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because it has its own northern province of the same name, which in ancient times was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire - a source of intense pride for modern-day Greeks.
ANEL is the junior party in Greece's ruling coalition and strongly opposes the name change, a rift that threatens to destabilise the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who helped broker the deal.
Macedonia's parliament ratified the name change deal on Friday, but it will not go into effect until Athens does the same.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally invited Macedonia to join the military alliance in 2008, but Greece vetoed the move, claiming that Macedonia's name implies territorial aspirations toward Greece's northern province with the same name as well as appropriating Greece's historical heritage. Many countries, including Turkey, recognize Macedonia with its present name.
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