World Macedonia agrees to a new name, ending a 27-year dispute with Greece

04:15  13 june  2018
04:15  13 june  2018 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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VALLETTA, Malta — Leaders from Greece and Macedonia managed a breakthrough Tuesday in one of Europe’s most intractable foreign policy fights, announcing they had agreed on a new name for a country born 27 years ago from the rubble of Yugoslavia.

The new name not only made a clear distinction between Greek Macedonia and the country’s northern neighbour, but put a decisive end to the irredentism the country’s Stelios Koulouglou, an MEP with Tsipras’ Syriza party, said: “For far too long Greece had been ridiculed because of this dispute .

a man jumping in the air doing a trick on a skateboard© Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post Leaders from Greece and Macedonia managed a breakthrough Tuesday in one of Europe’s most intractable foreign policy fights, announcing they had agreed on a new name for a country born 27 years ago from the rubble of Yugoslavia.

If the deal goes through — and the countries still could put it to parliamentary votes or referendums — Macedonia will formally change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, and Greece will drop its opposition to the small Balkan nation joining NATO and the European Union.

What is known in neighboring Macedonia and Greece simply as the “name dispute” has burned for years amid accusations big and small — about cultural appropriation, about national identity, about statues and museums, about airports named for Alexander the Great. Athens accused Skopje of having designs on its northern territory, which is also called Macedonia.

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Today the 27 - year impasse ended as two nations finally came to a resolution: The former Yugoslav republic is getting a new name , the Republic of North Macedonia . "There is no way back," Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in a press conference, Reuters reports

Macedonia Agrees to Change its Name to Resolve Dispute With Greece New York Times. Severna Macedonia is born: Athens and Skopje announce ‘ name ’ deal Aljazeera.com. The Latest: Veteran envoy to Macedonia name dispute applauds Chron.com.

The agreement could help stabilize one of Europe’s poorest and most turbulent regions, one where Russia has battled for influence and discouraged countries from joining NATO. Last month, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said that Macedonia was showing “resistance” to Moscow and that he hoped talks with Greece would “bear fruit soon.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday evening in a statement that the agreement would set Macedonia “on its path to NATO membership. And it will help to consolidate peace and stability across the wider Western Balkans.”

Macedonia joined the United Nations more than 20 years ago on the Greek condition that it refer to itself internationally as FYROM — the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Still, many countries, including the United States, recognize the country by the name it uses in its constitution: the Republic of Macedonia.

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VALLETTA, Malta — The leaders from Greece and Macedonia managed a breakthrough Tuesday in one of Europe’s most intractable foreign policy fights, announcing they’d agreed on a new name for a country born 27 years ago from the rubble of Yugoslavia.

Macedonia and Greece fail to resolve bitter naming dispute . President Gjordje Ivanov says no to deal renaming country as Republic of North Macedonia . No bailout funds for Greece as eurozone finance chiefs fail to agree deal.

Analysts say Macedonia and Greece made progress recently with the hope of having a deal in place before an E.U. summit in late June. Negotiations have been brokered with the help of diplomats from the United Nations.

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The government of Macedonia has struck an agreement with Greece to change the country’s name , bringing an end to a long-running dispute between the two nations, The New York Times reports.

Presidential Guard performs changing guards during a massive rally February 4, 2018 in Athens, Greece . Milos Bicanski/Getty Images The leaders of Macedonia

The two countries are led by left-leaning prime ministers who will face domestic opposition over the name change — particularly in Greece, where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s coalition partner in government says it doesn’t back the deal. Tsipras — who announced the deal on national television — will face reelection in the next year and a half, and polls suggest his party trails conservatives by a significant margin.

“Greece is tricky,” said James Ker-Lindsay, a fellow at the London School of Economics who studies the Balkans. “Have you taken a look at Macedonia? It’s impoverished. Landlocked. It’s not going to be a threat to Greece.”

Macedonia has tried to win Greek goodwill. This year, it removed the name of Alexander the Great from the airport in its capital.

“Concerning the [Macedonian] people, I don’t know how they will react,” said Denko Maleski, a retired law professor who was Macedonia’s minister of foreign affairs in the early 1990s. “But the government had to make this move to get out of isolation.”

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