Goodbye FYR, hello North! Macedonia and Greece resolve name dispute

Macedonia will change its name after 27-year argument with Greece

A former republic of Yugoslavia, Macedonia broke away in 1991, and its name is recognized by the vast majority of countries around the world, including the U.S.

Greece and Macedonia reached a historic settlement Tuesday to their long-simmering dispute over the name Macedonia - shared by the former Yugoslav republic and an ancient region of northern Greece.

"Maybe what has the most historic gravity and value for Greece (is that) according to this accord. our northern neighbours don't have, and can not assert, any link to the ancient Greek culture of Macedonia", Tsipras said in a televised address on Tuesday evening.

Following the latest round of discussions, Macedonia is now set to be known as the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

"The chance is here and it must be seized, bravely, as this is the only patriotic way", Macedonian Prime Minisrter Zoran Zaev told a press conference in Skopje.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev reached an agreement with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to change the country's name to the Republic of Northern Macedonia in acknowledgement of the Greek region of Macedonia across the border.

European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials, meanwhile, welcomed the announcement from Tsipras and Zaev, calling it a "historic" deal.

On the timeline of the deal, Mr Tsipras said that it would be first signed by the two countries' foreign ministers and then ratified by Macedonia's parliament.

Skopje hopes to secure a date to begin European Union accession talks at an EU summit in late June, and an invitation to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in mid-July.

"This historic agreement is testament to many years of patient diplomacy and to the willingness of these two leaders to solve a dispute which has affected the region for too long", said Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"I now call on both countries to finalise the agreement reached by the two leaders".

"The European Union perspective of the Western Balkans ... remains the most powerful stabilising force for the region", they added. "Greece considers Macedonia a non-negotiable part of its history", explains NPR.

"The name change will be implemented not only the country's worldwide relations but also domestically", Tsipras said adding that Skopje would need to revise its constitution.

He added that Macedonia "cannot and will not be able in the future to claim any connection with the ancient Greek civilisation of Macedonia".

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

Hristijan Mickoski, president of Macedonia's opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, said: "Today is a hard day for the Republic of Macedonia".

"I am keeping my fingers crossed", he said.

Tsipras added that once Skopje ratifies the deal in Parliament and revises its constitution to rid it of anything that could be construed as irredentist, then Athens will lift its objections to FYROM's European Union accession and its induction to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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