Greece Ratifies Macedonia’s NATO Protocol

Clay Curtis
February 10, 2019

Greece's parliament on Friday ended a decades-long dispute by approving a measure that would allow Macedonia, soon to be North Macedonia, to join NATO.

Lawmakers late Friday voted 153-140 to back the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation protocol that must now also be approved by all other alliance members.

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers a speech during a parliament session in Athens, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

Negotiations between Greece and Macedonia were protracted and hard.

"History will judge us". I feel we have done our patriotic duty, amid threats and blackmails.

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The vote came after the former Yugoslav republic agreed with Greece a year ago to change its name to North Macedonia and following ratification of the deal by the countries' parliaments.

Skopje must adopt the new name "in the public discourse, in addition to all street signs and official documents", he added. Moscow had taken a dim view of the name accord, and of Macedonian membership in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In ancient times it was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire, a source of intense pride for Greeks.

Greek approval of Macedonia's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession bid is the final step in the deal.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said Macedonia may now take part in NATO ministerial meetings as an invitee, starting with a gathering of defence ministers in Brussels next week.

He was referring partly to the many ongoing reforms in the country - but also to the fact that all 29 parliaments of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries will have to ratify the protocol before Macedonia can become a full member. When Montenegro joined in 2017 that process took about a year.

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