Macedonia PM urges Greek MPs to ratify name deal

Macedonia PM urges Greek MPs to ratify name deal

They voted to alter it to the Republic of North Macedonia as part of attempts to end a long-running dispute with neighbours Greece.

Macedonia approved the deal on Friday, while Greece's parliament is expected to vote on it before March.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leader Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance strongly supports the full implementation of the agreement, under which Greece will lift its objections to Macedonia joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.

The agreement on changing the name comes after a 27-year dispute with Greece, which complained that this small, landlocked country calling itself Macedonia implied claims on Greece's own territory and cultural heritage.

Only 36.08 percent of 1.8 million voters participated in the referendum to rename Macedonia, while the law requires a turnout of at least 50 percent plus one vote for the referendum to be valid.

However several opposition MPs broke ranks and voted for the change, alongside the ruling Social Democratic party and their junior coalition partners from the ethnic Albanian minority.

He secured the required two-thirds parliamentary majority to push the constitutional change through.

FDA: Shutdown Means We're Not Doing 'Important Things' Like Inspections
The FDA conducts about 8,400 inspections a year, or an average of 160 a week. The FDA regulates about 75 percent of the US food supply.

"The prime minister congratulated Mr Zaev on the successful conclusion of the process to revise the constitution of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia", Tsipras' office said in a statement.

Eighty-one deputies in the 120-seat parliament voted in favour.

Macedonia's rightwing president, Gjorge Ivanov, has been a vocal opponent of the proposed name change and continues to speak out against it.

However, the ball is now in Athens' court as the name change will be effective only once it is cleared by the Greek parliament. "VMRO-DPMNE will win this election and the will of the majority of the citizens will be implemented", Mickoski said in a statement.

The debate on January 11 followed a postponement a day earlier, with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his allies negotiating with lawmakers opposed to the change.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas hailed the vote, expressing expectations "that Republic of North Macedonia will soon be able to join NATO and start discussions for entry into the European Union".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted support of the agreement on Friday, calling it "an important contribution to a stable and prosperous region".

Related Articles