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Skopje notifies United Nations of name change

13 February 2019

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at a meeting of NATO defense ministers, Sekerinska said North Macedonia has "shown that change is possible if you have the right amount of political leadership".

"May today be the beginning of a long friendship between Greece and North Macedonia", he said in a tweet.

However, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart, Zoran Zaev, were able to push through their accord a year ago as part of efforts to normalize relations.

People are at work to change boards at the border between Macedonia and Greece near Gevgelija on February 13, 2019.

Government members, former prime ministers, ambassadors and religious leaders gathered outside the government building in Skopje on Tuesday for the symbolic raising of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation flag, as Macedonia makes its final steps towards membership.

The name change resolves a dispute with neighboring Greece that has gone back decades.

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Since 1991, Athens had objected to its neighbor being called Macedonia because Greece has a historic northern province of the same name.

Despite opposition on either side of the border, the deal was ratified by both parliaments.

Within four months, the Interior Ministry will start issuing new auto license plates with the abbreviation NMK, while new passports will be issued at the end of this year, Zernovski said.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in a speech that this marks the end of insecurity for the country, and opens the path to a prosperous future through membership of the "most powerful alliance in the world".

The small Balkan country changed its name on Tuesday.

All of NATO's 29 current members must ratify the accession agreement.

Skopje notifies United Nations of name change