Greece, FYROM achieve deal on name change

Sergio Conner
June 13, 2018

Just to make things confusing, when it became a member of the United Nations in 1993, it had to be given an alternative provisional name of the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", which was purely because of the ongoing dispute with Greece.

"We have a deal", Mr Tsipras said.

"We have reached an accord, a good accord that covers all the conditions set by Greece", Tsipras said in televised comments after briefing Greece's president Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the accord.

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

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

"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.

While the debate over the name might seem trivial, Greece has gone as far as to block Macedonia from joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or the European Union because of its name.

Athens objected to its neighbor's new name, saying it implied a territorial claim over Greece's province of the same name, which borders the Balkan country.

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Last week in Pella, Greece, protesters opposed the use of the name "Macedonia" in any solution to the dispute between Athens and Skopje.

"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".

European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials, meanwhile, welcomed the announcement from Tsipras and Zaev, calling it a "historic" deal. Macedonia is the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Today (June 12), leaders from both nations said a final agreement may well have been reached. However, Tsipras said, this will be contingent on Macedonia completing the constitutional changes. The new name will be used both domestically and internationally, while Macedonia will also amend its constitution as part of the deal.

"In other words, if the constitutional amendment is not successfully completed, then the invitation to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will be automatically rescinded and the accession talks with the European Union will not start", he said. So if you like The Pappas Post and want to help, please consider becoming a "philotimo subscriber". It also has to be ratified by both Macedonian and Greek parliaments. "I am keeping my fingers crossed".

The prime ministers of Macedonia and Greece agreed that it would be known as the "Republic of Northern Macedonia" if the proposal receives the necessary approvals from Macedonia's lawmakers and voters.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias had prepared a 20-page draft agreement after repeated talks with his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov.

This year there have been several protests against an agreement in Skopje, as well as in Athens and Greece's second city of Thessaloniki in the north.

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