North Macedonia signs installed on border with Greece

A bus lays overturned at the crash site at village of Laskarci west of Skopje North Macedonia Wednesday Feb. 13 2019. Macedonia's health minister says some have died and many are injured in the bus crash carrying workers on a highway west of

A bus lays overturned at the crash site at village of Laskarci west of Skopje North Macedonia Wednesday Feb. 13 2019. Macedonia's health minister says some have died and many are injured in the bus crash carrying workers on a highway west of

But following a 28-year dispute, Greece's parliament finally came to an agreement in January on a name change for FYR Macedonia, to the Republic of North Macedonia.

Tuesday was also the day the country officially changed its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, marking the end of a long-running feud with Greece.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, speaking at a ceremony in the capital Skopje, said Macedonia had achieved a "historic goal" in being accepted into NATO under its new name, North Macedonia.

Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said the move followed a final exchange of diplomatic notes with Greece.

Workers were removing "Republic of Macedonia" road signs at a border crossing with Greece Wednesday, a precursor to a series of steps the country will take as part of the agreement, including changing signs at airports, on official buildings, web pages and printed materials. "We can't change our past, but we can and we will shape our future of friendship, partnership and cooperation". The official spoke on customary condition of anonymity.

Police officers and investigators are silhouetted at the crash site at village of Laskarci west of Skopje North Macedonia Wednesday Feb. 13 2019. Macedonia's health minister says some have died and many are injured in the bus crash carrying wor

The name change resolves a dispute with neighboring Greece that has gone back decades.

Athens had blocked its northern neighbor from joining either bloc because it claimed "Macedonia" and the name's historical associations for one of its northern provinces.

Macedonia will now publish the deal with Greece in its government gazette so that the agreement can take effect. Nationalist groups in both countries opposed the deal, with many saying it gave up too much to the other side.

Dimitrov on February 6 signed a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession agreement, a key step toward Skopje's becoming the military alliance's 30th member.

However, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart, Zoran Zaev, were able to push through their accord a year ago as part of efforts to normalize relations.

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