Friday, 17 August, 2018

Athens and Skopje reportedly reach deal in name dispute - English

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia Bulgaria Athens Skopje Reach Agreement on Constitutional Name of Macedonia REUTERS Stoyan Nenov
Kenny Thornton | 12 June, 2018, 22:23

After splitting from the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia was admitted into the United Nations in 1993 as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

"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". Athens say that name implies territorial claims on a northern Greek province of the same name.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday that a deal had been reached to give Macedonia a different name, addressing all of Greece's concerns.

Zaev said that the deal will be put to a referendum in Macedonia in the autumn.

"The chance is here and it must be seized, bravely, as this is the only patriotic way", Macedonian Prime Minisrter Zoran Zaev told a press conference in Skopje.

"The name change will be implemented not only the country's global relations but also domestically", Tsipras said adding that Skopje would need to revise its constitution. It also has to be ratified by both Macedonian and Greek parliaments.

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.

French police responding to reported hostage situation in central Paris
French police with their dog secure the street as a man has taken people hostage at a business in Paris , France, June 12, 2018. The attacker, who appeared to be brandishing a fake weapon, had doused his remaining two hostages in petrol, the source said.

Many Greeks felt their northern neighbor was trying to hijack Greece's ancient cultural heritage.

Ancient Macedonia was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire, a point of pride to Greeks today.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras said in a televised statement on Tuesday that the name change of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to "Republic of North Mecedonia" would be reflected both domestically and overseas.

The MPs are backed by the popular opinion as hundreds of thousands of Greeks marched in February in protest against the use of the world "Macedonia" by the neighboring country.

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, whose right-wing Independent Greeks party is Tsipras' governing coalition partner, said he would oppose an agreement in a parliamentary vote, meaning the left-wing prime minister will need to seek support from political opponents.

Macedonia had proposed four names to resolve the dispute: Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Upper Macedonia, Republic of Vardar Macedonia and Republic of Macedonia (Skopje).

"I am encouraged by the dedication of both governments to deliver mutual benefits for all their citizens through the establishment of a strategic partnership as a basis for intensified cooperation across all sectors", he said in a statement.

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