Athens, Skopje Reach Agreement on Constitutional Name of Macedonia

The prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia say they have agreed on "Republic of Northern Macedonia" as the new name for the Balkan country, ending a bitter 27-year dispute that had prevented the former Yugoslav republic from joining global institutions such as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"We have a deal, I'm happy because we have a good deal which covers all the preconditions set by the Greek side", said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The nationality of the country's citizens will be listed on official documents as "Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of Macedonia".

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 South-East Europe".

Zaev said the deal would be signed this weekend, and a voter referendum would be held in the fall.

Zaev said that the definition of the country's language will remain "Macedonian", as Skopje insisted in the talks.

European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials have welcomed a deal between Greece and Macedonia resolving a decades-long dispute over the Balkan country's name.

The prime minister of Greece says his country has reached an agreement with Macedonia to end a decades-old dispute over the neighboring country's name.

"The chance is here and it must be seized, bravely, as this is the only patriotic way", Macedonian Prime Minisrter Zoran Zaev told a press conference in Skopje. Macedonia is the birthplace of Alexander the Great. It also has to be ratified by both Macedonian and Greek parliaments. Tusk said: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

The EU's enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn and foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini responded with an enthusiastic welcome for the agreement. The new name will be used both domestically and internationally, while Macedonia will also amend its constitution as part of the deal.

Most opposition parties have criticized Tsipras's tactics, and even his coalition partner, the right-leaning Independent Greeks, have said they will not back an accord that allows the continued use of "Macedonia".

The name dispute has soured relations between the two neighbors at least since 1991, when Macedonia broke away from former Yugoslavia, declaring its independence under the name Republic of Macedonia. Nicholas Paphitis and Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Greece contributed.

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