Greek Parliament approves the Protocol for Macedonia's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership

11 February, 2019, 00:25 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Austria Macedonia

Greek Parliament ratified the NATO accord with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for its admission into the alliance under its new name, Republic of North Macedonia.

Staring down strong domestic opposition from Greeks anxious the Balkan neighbor was appropriating Greek heritage, the government of leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pushed the name change through parliament on January 25.

Tsipras and his counterpart from Skopje, Zoran Zaev, achieved the Prespa Agreement, meant to bring to an end the decades-long dispute over the use of the name "Republic of Macedonia" by the former Yugoslav republic.

"I'd like to welcome North Macedonia, a country friendly to Greece, a country that must be an ally in efforts to establish security, stability and peace in the region".

Greek lawmakers approved the accord that allows the neighbouring country to enter the alliance, with 153 votes in favour, and 140 against.

The main catalyst for the change was FYROM's wish to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and, eventually, the European Union, and western countries' desire to diminish Russian influence in the region.

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Greek opposition parties reject the move, arguing that the name deal, which will end a 27-year dispute, concedes too much to FYROM.

Tsipras had faced large demonstrations against the deal, while opinion polls showed that more than two-thirds of Greeks oppose it.

Macedonia has been attempting for decades to gain membership of the North American Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the European Union (EU).

"I am proud of the stance of the lawmakers who voted the deal".

Athens asserted that the use of the name Macedonia suggested Skopje had territorial claims to Greece's northern region of Macedonia.

A government spokesman told the AP this would happen "in coming days".

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