Greece and Macedonia end 27-year feud over name

Президент Македонии отверг соглашение о переименовании страны

Macedonia will also amend its constitution to reflect the change as part of the deal.

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.

The row dates back to 1991 when Macedonia declared independence but Greece has long objected to its neighbour's constitutional name - the Republic of Macedonia - because it fears it could imply territorial ambitions.

The compromises to resolve the name issue have faced dissent in both countries, threatening to split Greece's governing coalition and provoke a rift between Macedonia's prime minister and president. Additionally, countries will be able to use both the English or the Slavic version of the name.

Apparently other names thrown into the pot included Gorna Makedonija (Upper Macedonia), Nova Makedonija (New Macedonia) and Ilinden Macedonia.

The United Nations envoy who has tried to mediate the name dispute between Greece and Macedonia for almost as long as the dispute has existed is congratulating the countries' prime ministers for resolving their differences.

For Greece, the name Macedonia is part of its own cultural heritage and a source of pride as an ancient province that was the core of Alexander the Great's empire more than 2,000 years ago.

The new name will now have to be approved by Macedonians via a referendum, as well as the Republic's parliament.

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"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". It also has to be ratified by both Macedonian and Greek parliaments.

In 2008, Macedonia presented itself as a candidate for membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance under the provisional name but again faced a Greek veto.

Macedonia became a candidate for membership of the European Union in 2005 but Greece blocked the start of negotiations.

The deal was welcomed by European Union officials.

The deal was welcomed by EU officials, with European Council president Donald Tusk tweeting his "sincere congratulations" to Mr Tsipras and Mr Zaev.

'I am keeping my fingers crossed, ' he said. "Thanks to you, the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

The prime minister of Greece says his country has reached an agreement with Macedonia to end a decades-old dispute over the neighboring country's name.

They said they looked forward to accession negotiations beginning with Skopje in June.

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Matthew Nimetz said in a statement he had "no doubt this agreement will lead to a period of enhanced relations between the two neighbouring countries and especially between their people". He has been a representative of the United Nations secretary general on the same issue since 1999.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

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

"In essence, the (deal) is acceptance of all Greek positions", VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said.

In Athens, conservative main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Tsipras not to go ahead with the agreement.

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

"He was Skopje's best negotiator", Michael Patsikas told The Associated Press.

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