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Greece and Macedonia reach historic accord on name row: Greek official

12 June 2018

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday that a deal had been reached to give Macedonia a different name, addressing all of Greece's concerns.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev reiterated during a press conference his pledge to hold a referendum on the new name in the fall. "We have a deal, I'm happy because we have a good deal which covers all the preconditions set by the Greek side", said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. 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. "We have a combined name with a geographic qualifier for all uses", Tsipras said as quoted by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) news agency.

Athens, which like all members of both organisations has a veto over admissions, objected to its neighbour's use of the name Macedonia, arguing that it, along with articles in the constitution, could imply territorial claims over its own northern region of the same name.

A former republic of Yugoslavia, Macedonia broke away in 1991, and its name is recognized by the vast majority of countries around the world, including the U.S.

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Skopje hopes that with a solution in hand, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will extend an invitation to join and the European Union will allow the start of Macedonian accession talks as early as this summer.

In the 1995 interim bilateral accord, Greece agreed that the term "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) would be applied to Macedonia until the dispute is settled.

They also urged the Council to endorse opening EU accession talks with Macedonia, which the European Commission recommended in April. The decades-old dispute between the two neighbors had been an obstacle to Macedonia joining either the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance or the European Union. There were also rallies in Macedonia in spring, demanding the country's name to be left in place.

Greece and Macedonia reach historic accord on name row: Greek official