Greece ratifies the Prespa Agreement with Macedonia

Greece ratifies the Prespa Agreement with Macedonia

Under the agreement, Macedonia will change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia.

"Flags are flying at half-staff, the (church) bells were ringing mournfully because we don't want this deal to go through", said Mayor Christos Gountenoudis.

The angry scenes in parliament echoed the fury outside: as one MP spoke of the death threats she'd received in supporting the Macedonia bill, and another shouted "no to treason" while he voted, protesters on the steps of parliament screamed "traitors!"

On Jan 25, Greek lawmakers voted by a narrow majority to ratify the name change.

United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq says Guterres looks forward to completing the process outlined in the agreement, which was negotiated under United Nations auspices.

Still, others believe the agreement holds positive implications for the two countries, both at the regional and European level.

The Greek parliament ratified a deal to rename Macedonia in a historic vote today.

Athens repeatedly saw massive protests as people flocked to the Greek capital to decry the deal ahead of the vote. For the European Union, the deal creates a diplomatic opening for talks with Greece's neighbor on eventually joining the bloc.

Macedonia's parliament backed a constitutional revision to change the country's name 10 days ago.

Tirana considered it a "victory of diplomacy coming also as an irreplaceable contribution of the Albanian factor in Macedonia".

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Parliament in Athens agreed by 153 votes to 146 to approve the name Republic of North Macedonia, despite widespread opposition from the public.

In 1994, Greece imposes an economic embargo on Macedonia and prevents it from using the Greek port at Thessaloniki, Skopje's main trading post. This is an historic moment bringing a decades-old dispute close to an end.

And for that reason, Athens did what it could to delay global recognition of its name and its accession to the United Nations. "Together with our peoples we reached a historic victory". In a ceremony high in symbolism, held by Lake Prespa where the borders of Greece, Albania and Macedonia meet, the two men signed the landmark agreement, known as the Prespa accord. "For eternal peace and progress of the Balkans and in Europe!" he wrote.

Greece's European Union allies, who once shuddered at the anti-austerity rhetoric from the 45-year old premier, welcomed the ratification.

In June, the two sides settle on "Republic of North Macedonia".

The ratification of the so-called Prespa Agreement, which was signed in Skopje last June, paves the way for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union. Although the dispute has been solved at the worldwide level, there is still the potential for ethnic disputes to arise.

Under the agreement, Greece's neighbor will stop using the name "Republic of Macedonia", a name it chose for itself when it declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

The deal faced fierce opposition and had already cost Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras his parliamentary majority. It passed with the support of independent lawmakers.

The accord aims to start unravelling one of the world's longest diplomatic disputes which began almost three decades ago with Macedonia's declaration of independence but has roots dating back centuries. They are also of the view that the neighbouring state, if he keep the word Macedonia in its name, tear the Hellenic cultural heritage.

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