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Macedonia PM hails 'historic' deal with Greece to resolve name row

Macedonia PM hails 'historic' deal with Greece to resolve name row

The new name will be used both domestically and internationally, while Macedonia will also amend its constitution as part of the deal.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says Greece and Macedonia have reached an agreement to resolve their 27-year dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name. We have a historic solution after two and a half decades.

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. Tsipras said that Athens got "a good deal which covers all the preconditions set by the Greek side" as he briefed Greek President, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, on the results of negotiations.

In televised comments, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared the deal "a great diplomatic victory and a great historic opportunity" for the region to have "friendship, cooperation and co-development".

"We wholeheartedly congratulate Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev for their determination and leadership in reaching this historic agreement between their countries, which contributes to the transformation of the entire region of South-East Europe", Hahn and Mogherini said in a joint statement.

Protesters from across Greece converge in Athens to protest a potential Greek compromise in a dispute with neighbouring Macedonia.

After splitting from the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia was admitted into the United Nations in 1993 as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

The dispute had seen Greece veto Macedonia's European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bids on grounds that its name and constitution contained irredentist claims to a Greek region of the same name.

In 2001, Greece, the only country in the region with EU, NATO and eurozone membership, expressed support for Skopje, faced by an armed conflict with ethnic Albanian rebels.

Zaev said resolving the longstanding issue would open Macedonia's access to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU. "I am keeping my fingers crossed".

According to reports this will most likely take place at Prespes in northern Greece on Saturday.

Greece had also vetoed its neighbor's bid to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU. Most opposition parties have criticised Tsipras's tactics, and even his coalition partner, the right-wing Independent Greeks, have said they will not back an accord that allows the continued use of "Macedonia".

European Council president Donald Tusk tweeted his "sincere congratulations" to Mr Tsipras and Mr Zaev.

Zaev said that the deal will be put to a referendum in Macedonia in the autumn.

Besides claiming it as part of its heritage, Greece also had a province bordering the new country with the same name and feared Skopje could harbour territorial ambitions.

In a nutshell, Greek people felt like the name belonged to them because it ties in with the country's heritage and the Macedon Kingdom - the king of which was Alexander the Great, who you'll have heard of.

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