Macedonia president says won't approve name deal with Greece

Macedonia president says won't approve name deal with Greece

Macedonia president says won't approve name deal with Greece

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev agreed to the change (Picture: Getty)'We have a good agreement that covers all the preconditions the Greek side had set, ' he said, adding that Macedonia would revise its constitution for the name change and that the deal "secures the historic heritage of ancient Greek Macedonia".

Macedonia agreed to change its name to the Republic of Northern Macedonia after reaching a historic deal with Greece on their decades-old dispute over the ex-Yugoslav republic's name, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on Tuesday.

Macedonia's deputy prime minister expects growing "external resistance" as negotiations on the name dispute with Greece get closer to a final deal which would unblock the country's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union membership bid.

Thankfully, it sounds like Greece and Macedonia have finally reached a resolve, thanks to the new name of the Republic of North Macedonia - or "Severna Makedonija" in Macedonian.

If you're planning to travel to Macedonia to see its attractive scenery and historic destinations, it might be good to check the exact name of the country before you leave.

In this photo released by Greek Prime Minister's office, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks during a televised address to the nation, in Athens, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. He told the BBC a year ago that he probably has spent more time thinking about the word "Macedonia" than anyone, including in the country itself.

Besides claiming it as part of its heritage, Greece also had a province bordering the new country with the same name and feared Skopje could harbour territorial ambitions.

The first step is for the agreement to be signed by the two countries' Foreign Ministers, then it needs to be ratified by the FYROM Parliament. "A prime minister without a clear parliamentary mandate willing to commit the country to a reality which will not be possible to change", Mitsotakis said.

In a front-page editorial, conservative daily Eleftheros Typos called the agreement "the surrender of the Macedonian identity and language", while the centre-right Kathimerini newspaper referred to "a deal with gaps and question marks". The citizens of the country will get to keep the term Macedonian as well as the official spoken language. "It was high time for the problem to be solved".

Greece's Macedonia includes the major port city of Thessaloniki, and tensions have existed between Greece and its neighbor for over two decades, following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

Greek opponents of the deal - which will reportedly rename the Balkan republic as North Macedonia - say it would not go far enough.

However, Tsipras said, this will be contingent on Macedonia completing the constitutional changes.

The deal is expected to be signed by the two countries' foreign ministers this weekend.

For his part, Zaev has said the deal will be put to a referendum in his country in the autumn.

In 2016, amid Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II, Athens accused Skopje of using "excessive force" to push back hundreds of migrants trying to cross into Macedonia to continue their journey to northern Europe.

Related news