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    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

    UK Minister for Europe Urges Macedonians to Vote for Name Change

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    BELGRADE (Sputnik) - UK Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Alan Duncan called on Macedonians on Tuesday to vote in the upcoming referendum for the country's new name, and make a decision that would open the path to EU and NATO membership.

    "I hope that the people will participate in the referendum on September 30. I consider that it will be a significant step forward for Macedonia and I believe that everyone, especially young people, will show interest in the decision… Young people should realize that it is about their future and to understand that it is a step forward that will allow Macedonia to join other countries in NATO and the EU," Duncan said as quoted by the Macedonian Information Agency.

    READ MORE: EU Commission: Macedonia's Name Vote Should Be Free From Foreign Influence

    Duncan, who is currently visiting Macedonia, spoke after meeting with Koco Angjushev, Macedonia's deputy prime minister, responsible for economic affairs, and signing a memorandum on energy strategy.

    On June 17, the Greek and Macedonian foreign ministers signed an agreement on renaming the former Yugoslav Republic to the Republic of North Macedonia after a decades-long dispute.

    A referendum on the deal, reached in June, will be held on September 30. If the name change is approved, the country will be able to seek NATO and EU membership.

    Related:

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    Mattis to Fly to Skopje to Show US Support for Macedonia Joining NATO - Pentagon
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    Macedonia's constitutional name, referendum, Alan Duncan, Macedonia, United Kingdom, Greece
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