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    A Greek national flag flutters atop the parliament building in Athens, Greece June 29, 2015.

    Greek Govt Says Expects Lawmakers to Ratify NATO Membership Protocol in Few Days

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    ATHENS (Sputnik) - The Greek government expects the parliament to ratify the protocol on Macedonia's accession to NATO in a few days, which will allow Skopje to enforce the constitutional amendment that provides for the country's renaming into the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Spokesman for the government Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Thursday.

    The constitutional amendment was passed by the Macedonian parliament earlier in the month. On January 25, the deal was ratified by the Greek legislature by a very narrow margin. On Monday, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov announced that the protocol on Skopje's joining NATO would be signed within the next two weeks.

    "The protocol on the accession of Northern Macedonia to NATO still has to be ratified by the Greek Parliament in a few days, and then the Greek Foreign Ministry will send a notification to the Northern Macedonian Foreign Ministry, as a result of which the amendment to [Macedonia's] constitution will automatically come into effect," Tzanakopoulos said.

    READ MORE: Over 60% of Greeks Oppose Prespa Deal on Macedonia’s Name Change – Poll

    Last June, Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) signed an agreement in an attempt to solve their decades-long dispute over the name "Macedonia." Greece objected to its use by the former Yugoslav republic because it is also the name of one of Greek regions.

    The ratification of the deal by both countries paves the way for Macedonia's joining NATO and the European Union, the process that was previously blocked by Greece over fears that the former Yugoslav republic might try to claim its region under the same name.

    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.

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    renaming, amendment, Nikola Dimitrov, Macedonia, Greece
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