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Greek Parliament Shifts Vote on Macedonia Name Change to Friday - Reports

© AP Photo / Boris GrdanoskiMacedonian flag in front of the government building in Skopje, Macedonia (File)
Macedonian flag in front of the government building in Skopje, Macedonia (File) - Sputnik International
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ATHENS (Sputnik) – The Greek parliament will vote on approval of the Prespa deal on Macedonia's name change on Friday, AMNA reported Thursday.

The vote was expected to be held on Thursday, but the leaders of parliamentary groups unanimously decided to postpone it, according to the AMNA news agency.

Greece and Macedonia, officially known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), have been entangled in a naming dispute for years, with Athens opposing the use of "Macedonia," which is also the name of a region in Greece. The agreement on the new name for Macedonia – Republic of Northern Macedonia – was signed by Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias on June 17.

Macedonian Army honor guard officers change the national flags during a special ceremony in front of the government building in Macedonia's capital Skopje, Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 - Sputnik International
Macedonia to Become NATO Member Soon, Then Join EU - Prime Minister

READ MORE: Contentious Vote on Macedonia Name Change & Stepping Stone for NATO in W Balkans

The deal paved the way for Macedonia to join the European Union and NATO, which had been earlier blocked by Greece over the naming issue. Earlier this month, the deal was supported by the majority of Macedonian lawmakers, while the Greek parliament is still to ratify the document.

The Prespa agreement is widely criticized by various political forces in Greece, who have been staging massive protests in Athens.

READ MORE: 'Greeks Can't Express Their View on Prespa Deal Due to Geopolitical Interests'

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