Mace­do­nia, Greece end 27-year name dis­pute

Iran Daily - - International -

Mace­do­nia agreed to change its name to end a 27-year dis­pute with Greece.

The coun­try will now be known as the Repub­lic of North Mace­do­nia, or Sev­erna Make­donija in Mace­do­nian, Sky News wrote.

Greece has ar­gued since Mace­do­nia’s in­de­pen­dence from Yu­goslavia in 1991 that the young coun­try’s name im­plied a claim to the ter­ri­tory and an­cient her­itage of Greece’s north­ern re­gion of Mace­do­nia — the birth­place of an­cient war­rior king Alexan­der the Great.

Pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions in Mace­do­nia’s cap­i­tal, Skopje, re­sisted de­mands to change or mod­ify the name.

The dis­pute strained re­la­tions be­tween the two neigh­bors and the United Na­tions ap­pointed a spe­cial en­voy to me­di­ate.

Greece will lift its ob­jec­tions to Mace­do­nia’s ac­ces­sion to NATO and the Euro­pean Union once the dis­pute is re­solved.

In Skopje, the op­po­si­tion party VMRO-DPMNE, said Mace­do­nian Prime Min­is­ter Zo­ran Zaev had in­formed party leader Hris­ti­jan Mick­oski that he had “achieved a so­lu­tion with Greece”.

Greece’s Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras said a deal had been reached that would give Mace­do­nia a dif­fer­ent name which would be used do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

He said: “We have a good agree­ment that cov­ers all the pre­con­di­tions the Greek side had set.”

Bul­gar­ian of­fi­cials wel­comed the agree­ment be­tween Greece and Mace­do­nia to re­solve the dis­pute. But they warned that the deal should not be used for fu­ture ter­ri­to­rial claims in the re­gion.

Bul­garia’s For­eign Min­istry said in a state­ment that Mace­do­nia’s new name, Repub­lic of North­ern Mace­do­nia, “opens the way for the Euro­pean and Euro-at­lantic in­te­gra­tion of our neigh­bor.”

Bul­garia was one of the first coun­tries to rec­og­nize Mace­do­nia af­ter its in­de­pen­dence.

But re­la­tions be­tween Sofia and Skopje were strained for years over is­sues of iden­tity, lan­guage and his­tory.

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