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Greece and Macedonia reach deal in 27-year dispute over name

Greece and Macedonia reach deal in 27-year dispute over name

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says Greece and Macedonia have reached an agreement to resolve their 27-year dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name.

"We got a fair deal..."

"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 has just changed its name. and to be honest, we're all a little confused.

There was no immediate comment from Macedonian officials.

But before that, he said the agreement will be put to parliament for ratification in order not to waste any time and to allow Greece to lift its blockade on Macedonia's potential membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.

Greece had also blocked the country from negotiating with the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Greece had objected to the name "Macedonia", fearing territorial claims on its eponymous northern region, as well as cultural appropriation of the Greek nature of Ancient Macedonia, a historically Greek province and important part of Ancient Greek history that has no direct connection between the modern citizens, who hail from a mixed Slavic heritage.

On June 6, thousands of people protested in major cities across Greece against the compromise, while, four days earlier, like numbers of supporters of Macedonia's right-wing opposition VMRO-DPMNE party took to the streets of the capital, Skopje, to protest against a deal.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday's "historic agreement" was "testament to many years of patient diplomacy", and called on the two countries' prime ministers to finalize the deal.

The two nations settled on a name- certain to incite controversy amongst many Greeks both inside the country, as well as outside her borders.

Both Albania and Macedonia hope to launch full membership negotiations with the European Union. However, Tsipras said, this will be contingent on Macedonia completing the constitutional changes.

Under the agreement, the agreed name, the Republic of North Macedonia, will be used internationally and domestically, an issue that was a priority for Greece.

"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. First the Macedonian parliament and people have to vote on the proposed new name.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted his support for the agreement: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible". "I am keeping my fingers crossed".

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and commissioner Johannes Hahn issued a joint statement congratulating the two prime ministers "in reaching this historic agreement between their countries, which contributes to the transformation of the entire region of southeast Europe".

Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati also congratulated "our neighbors & friends" for a "breakthrough agreement" that he said would lead the Balkans region to become part of the "Euro-Atlantic family".