Greek parliament ratifies NATO accord with Republic of North Macedonia
10 February, 2019, 21:43 | Author: Wade Massey
I feel we have done our patriotic duty, amid threats and blackmails.
Greek lawmakers on Friday approved Macedonia's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession bid, putting the final touches on a historic deal to end a 27-year name row between the two countries.
The vote came after the former Yugoslav republic agreed with Greece past year to change its name to North Macedonia and following ratification of the deal by the countries' parliaments.
"I would like to again welcome North Macedonia, a country that is friendly toward Greece, a country that must be a supporter - and not an opponent - of our efforts to establish safety, stability, and cooperation in the wider region", said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras.
Under NATO alliance rules, Macedonian membership now has to be approved by each member state, giving Greek lawmakers the opportunity for another round of verbal jousting over the controversy. "We did what is right", Tsipras told parliament during a heated debate Friday.
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Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because Greece has a northern province of the same name.
Greece's objections to Skopje's use of the name "Macedonia" since the country's independence in 1991 complicated bids by the small Western Balkan state to join the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It says the alliance is undermining security in the region by taking in Balkan members.
Negotiations between Greece and Macedonia were protracted and hard. The protocol was approved by 153 MPs.
The Greek vote means the former Yugoslav republic will now formally change its name to North Macedonia.
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