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Macedonia's Parliament Ratifies Deal With Greece on Renaming the Country

© AP Photo / Boris GrdanoskiMacedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zeav speaks during a session for the ratification of the deal with Greece, in the parliament in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zeav speaks during a session for the ratification of the deal with Greece, in the parliament in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Last week the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia signed an agreement on the new constitutional name of the Western Balkan nation, which has been known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) since 1995.

Macedonian lawmakers have ratified an agreement with Greece changing country's name to North Macedonia with 69 votes in favor of the move in the 120-member parliament. The bil was approved in order to put an end to a decades-long dispute with Athens over the name of the country.

"Today gives us confidence and clarity that we will be informed about the date of the launch of negotiations [on joining the European Union]. Europe has reached out to us. The official invitation from NATO is becoming a reality, the dream is coming true," Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev stated.

Protestors shout slogans against the change of the country's constitutional name in front of the Parliament building in Skopje, Macedonia June 13, 2018. - Sputnik International
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On Sunday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov signed an agreement on a new name of the former Yugoslav Republic, renaming the country to the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

Greece regarded the name "Macedonia" to be a term referring only to its northern region or the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, insisting on the use of another name for its northern neighbor. The dispute with Athens has been blocking Skopje's aspirations to join NATO and the European Union for years.

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