Macedonia Gets New Name, Ending 27-Year Dispute With Greece

13 Juin, 2018, 13:06 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Greece reaches deal with Macedonia to end nearly 30-year name dispute What will M

Zoran Zaev, the prime minister of Macedonia, and Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister of Greece, both agreed to the deal on Monday.

Greece and Macedonia reached a historic settlement Tuesday to their long-simmering dispute over the name Macedonia - shared by the former Yugoslav republic and an ancient region of northern Greece.

"Dear fellow citizens, we have [made] a historic decision..."

Earlier, the Greek Prime Minister announced the breakthrough on the name, saying the accord would allow a clear distinction between Greece's Macedonia province and the country.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras leaves the Presidential Palace following his meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (not pictured) in Athens, Greece, June 12, 2018.

Macedonia has just changed its name. and to be honest, we're all a little confused.

In televised comments, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared the deal "a great diplomatic victory and a great historic opportunity" for the region to have "friendship, cooperation and co-development".

Macedonia's new name will be put up for a referendum, to be held in autumn.

"Maybe what has the most historic gravity and value for Greece (is that) according to this accord. our northern neighbours don't have, and can not assert, any link to the ancient Greek culture of Macedonia", Tsipras said in a televised address on Tuesday evening.

Because of Greek objections, Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations under a provisional name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

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Due to the name dispute, Greece has vetoed all of attempts by Skopje to join both the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"This will set Skopje on its path to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership".

But before that, he said the agreement will be put to parliament for ratification in order not to waste any time and to allow Greece to lift its blockade on Macedonia's potential membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.

It also has to be ratified by both Macedonian and Greek parliaments.

In February, as NPR's Joanna Kakassis reported, more than 140,000 Greeks marched to parliament in Athens as part of a "Macedonia is Greece" rally, chanting that the name "is in our soul".

On Twitter, Zaev said the deal preserved the Macedonian ethnic and cultural identity. Tsipras and Zaev spoke on the phone yesterday for an hour, and said they would continue their conversation today.

In a nutshell, Greek people felt like the name belonged to them because it ties in with the country's heritage and the Macedon Kingdom - the king of which was Alexander the Great, who you'll have heard of.

"Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible", EU Council president Donald Tusk said.

But the breakthrough is now likely to see European Union leaders open accession talks with Macedonia at a summit in June and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation invite Macedonia to join the military alliance at a summit in July.

Greece's Macedonia is a northern region that includes the country's second city, Thessaloniki, whereas Macedonia's Macedonia is, well, a country.

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