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Greece and Macedonia reach deal in 27-year dispute over name

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However, both prime ministers faced dissent at home.

By solving the dispute which has lingered for more than 25 years, Macedonia will remove the biggest obstacle on its path towards European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession.

Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1 million people.

Greece and Macedonia reached a historic agreement Tuesday to end a bitter 27-year name dispute that had kept the smaller and younger country out of global institutions such as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the two countries' prime ministers announced.

A man holds a Greek flag next to a statue of Alexander the Great.

Greece had objected to the name "Macedonia", fearing territorial claims on its eponymous northern region, as well as cultural appropriation of the Greek nature of Ancient Macedonia, a historically Greek province and important part of Ancient Greek history that has no direct connection between the modern citizens, who hail from a mixed Slavic heritage.

They also urged the Council to endorse opening EU accession talks with Macedonia, which the European Commission recommended in April.

"Maybe what has the most historic gravity and value for Greece (is that) according to this accord. our northern neighbours don't have, and can not assert, any link to the ancient Greek culture of Macedonia", Tsipras said in a televised address on Tuesday evening. So if you like The Pappas Post and want to help, please consider becoming a "philotimo subscriber".

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday that a deal had been reached to give Macedonia a different name, addressing all of Greece's concerns.

Greece's Alexis Tsipras and Macedonia's Zoran Zaev said the former Yugoslav republic's new name for both domestic and worldwide purposes would be Republic of Northern Macedonia.

On the timeline of the deal, Tsipras said that it would be first signed by the two countries' foreign ministers and then ratified by Macedonia's parliament.

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and commissioner Johannes Hahn issued a joint statement congratulating the two prime ministers "in reaching this historic agreement between their countries, which contributes to the transformation of the entire region of southeast Europe".

The dispute has poisoned relations between the two neighbors since Macedonia's independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Macedonia had proposed four names to resolve the dispute: Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Upper Macedonia, Republic of Vardar Macedonia and Republic of Macedonia (Skopje).

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

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".

The deal still needs to be approved by the Macedonian and Greek parliaments.

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

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