Athens and Skopje reportedly reach deal in name dispute - English

Clay Curtis
June 12, 2018

"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.

Greece's Alexis Tsipras and Macedonia's Zoran Zaev said the former Yugoslav republic's new name for both domestic and global purposes would be Republic of Northern Macedonia.

The nationality of the country's citizens will be listed on official documents as "Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of Macedonia".

"We wholeheartedly congratulate Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev for their determination and leadership in reaching this historic agreement", said EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn in a joint statement.

Greece had long demanded the former Yugoslav republic change or modify its name to avoid any claim to the territory and ancient heritage of Greece's northern region of Macedonia - birthplace of ancient warrior king Alexander the Great.

Macedonia will be named the Republic of North Macedonia, or Severna Makedonija in Macedonian, after reaching a deal with Greece on the decades-long name issue, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said. "There is no way back", Zaev told a news conference.

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

The dispute between the two neighbours had been an obstacle to Macedonia joining either the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance or the European Union.

The row between Athens and Skopje has been ongoing since 1991, when Macedonia seceded from Yugoslavia and declared its independence.

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.

But Macedonia feared that a name change could have a negative impact on the national identity of its people, the majority of whom simply call themselves "Macedonians".

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

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