Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute

"This achieves a clear distinction between Greek Macedonia and our northern neighbors and puts an end to the irredentism which their current constitutional name implies", he said.

"We wholeheartedly congratulate Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev for their determination and leadership in reaching this historic agreement", said EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn in a joint statement.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras said in a televised statement on Tuesday that Macedonia's name change to "Republic of North Mecedonia" would be reflected both domestically and overseas.

While the debate over the name might seem trivial, Greece has gone as far as to block Macedonia from joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or the European Union because of its name.

Skopje and Athens announced they can resolve their long and bitter dispute by agreeing on the composite name "Republic of North Macedonia" for Macedonia - a deal expected to unlock Skopje's European Union and NATO bids.

"We have been solving a two-and-a-half decade dispute. that has been drowning the country", he said, adding that the deal "will strengthen the Macedonian identity".

"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.

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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.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that all of Greece's concerns had been addressed with the new name, according to the Associated Press.

A resolution of the dispute would see Greece lift objection to Macedonia's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

In the 1995 interim bilateral accord, Greece agreed that the term "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) would be applied to Macedonia until the dispute is settled.

He added that Macedonia would take a new "compound name with a geographical denominator", without spelling out the name.

The current prime ministers' attempts to find a compromise have faced dissent in both countries, leading to large protests by opponents of a deal, threatening to split Greece's governing coalition and provoking a rift between Macedonia's prime minister and president.

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