Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Greece backs Macedonia's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bid, completing name deal

Austria Macedonia Macedonia’s prime minister Zoran Zaev More
Jeannette Daniel | 10 February, 2019, 21:40

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers a speech during a parliament session in Athens, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

Greece's objections to Skopje's use of the name "Macedonia" since the country's independence in 1991 complicated bids by the small Western Balkan state to join the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Politicians late on Friday voted 153-140 to back the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation protocol that must now also be approved by all other alliance members.

The protocol was backed by 153 lawmakers in the 300-seat legislative body, with 140 lawmakers voting against it and one lawmaker abstaining from the vote.

"I feel we did our patriotic duty".

Greece's approval, by a slim majority, came after the two countries settled the dispute by agreeing to change the country's name from the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" to the "Republic of North Macedonia".

More news: Re-elected UEFA head Aleksander Ceferin wants competitions overhaul

Greece's ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accord will see Macedonia now call itself by its new name.

Under NATO alliance rules, Macedonian membership now has to be approved by each member state, giving Greek lawmakers the opportunity for another round of verbal jousting over the controversy.

The accord over the name angered many Greeks who believed the ex-Yugoslav state was hijacking their history with a name linked to the Greek heritage of Alexander the Great, King of Macedon.

The newly-named Republic of North Macedonia earlier this week signed an accession pact with NATO, which began its membership process.

Negotiations between Greece and Macedonia were protracted and hard.

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