Athens, Skopje Reach Agreement on Constitutional Name of Macedonia

Tuesday, 12 Jun, 2018

He said that the accord would allow a clear distinction between Greece's Macedonia province and the country.

Speaking at a news conference in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, Zaev described the deal as a "historic agreement of the century". "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.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras [left] and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev [right] in Sofia in May.

"We don't agree and we won't vote for any deal including the name 'Macedonia, '" Panos Kammenos, Greek Defense Minister and head of the rightist Independent Greeks party, said.

"Macedonia will be called the Republic of Northern Macedonia [Severna Makedonija]", Zoran Zaev, the country's prime minister, announced Tuesday.

"We have been solving a two-and-a-half decade dispute. that has been drowning the country", he said, adding that the deal "will strengthen the Macedonian identity".

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.

The long-running dispute has centred on Greece's objection to Macedonia's name, which has prompted it to block its neighbour from joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union until it is changed.

Greece will then back invitations for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and start negotiations on joining the European Union.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was briefing President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Tuesday afternoon.

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

The proposed name change has been resisted by sections of the Macedonian public.

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

The current prime ministers' attempts to find a compromise have faced dissent in both countries, leading to large protests by opponents of a deal, threatening to split Greece's governing coalition and provoking a rift between Macedonia's prime minister and president.