Macedonia agrees to new name after 27-year dispute with Greece

Zaev and Alexis Tsipras in run-up to the deal

Zaev and Alexis Tsipras in run-up to the deal

"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.

Previous comments from the Macedonian side have indicated that solutions could involve adding a modifier to the country's official name, such as "Upper" or "Northern" to satisfy Athens, although nationalists in Macedonian have opposed such concessions.

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.

He added that Macedonia "cannot and will not be able in the future to claim any connection with the ancient Greek civilisation of Macedonia".

FYR Macedonia and Greece call it truce on the 27 year old ongoing name dispute.

Speaking at a news conference in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, Zaev described the deal as a "historic agreement of the century".

Macedonia, the name of the ex-Yugoslav republic since its independence in 1991, has poisoned relations between Athens and Skopje for almost three decades.

The current prime ministers' attempts to end the dispute have faced dissent in both countries, leading to large protests by opponents of a compromise, threatening to split Greece's governing coalition and provoking a rift between Macedonia's prime minister and president.

The proposed name change has been resisted by sections of the Macedonian public.

If you're planning to travel to Macedonia to see its attractive scenery and historic destinations, it might be good to check the exact name of the country before you leave.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday's "historic agreement" was "testament to many years of patient diplomacy", and called on the two countries' prime ministers to finalize the deal. However, Tsipras said, this will be contingent on Macedonia completing the constitutional changes.

Macedonia became a candidate for membership of the European Union in 2005 but Greece blocked the start of negotiations. Tusk said: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

Greek opponents of the deal say it would not go far enough. The dispute poisoned relations between the two neighbours, and the United Nations appointed a special envoy to mediate.

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

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