19:19 GMT +323 March 2019
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    Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

    Greek Prime Minister Announces First-Ever Visit to Skopje in Coming Months

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    DELPHI (GREECE) (Sputnik) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he would visit North Macedonia’s capital of Skopje in the coming months, making the first official visit of a head of the Greek cabinet to the country, in the wake of the signing of a bilateral deal on renaming Macedonia to North Macedonia.

    Speaking at the Delphi Economic Forum, Tsipras praised the so-called Prespa agreement, recently achieved by Athens and Skopje, solving the decades-long dispute between the neighbors. Tsipras noted that due to the deal, the two countries began developing exemplary friendship, cooperation and solidarity.

    "Greece is full of resolve to develop what we have achieved with the Prespa Agreement. That is why, in the coming months, I will be Greece’s first prime minister to visit Skopje with a group of entrepreneurs", Tsipras said.

    READ MORE: NATO, Macedonia Sign Accession Protocol

    The prime minister added that the countries planned to convene a bilateral supreme cooperation council to explore ways of deepening partnership in trade, finance, tourism, energy, culture, defense industry and other areas.

    The Prespa deal on renaming Macedonia was signed by the two countries in June. However, the deal was met with criticism in both states. Notably, in Macedonia, the required turnout at the referendum on renaming the country was not met. Despite that, the deal was ratified by the parliaments of both countries.

    The dispute, solved by the deal, concerned Greece’s own region called Macedonia. Thus, Athens opposed Skopje’s use of the name. Moreover, the dispute was the main barrier preventing Skopje from pursuing membership of the European Union and NATO.

    The Balkan state is set to become the alliance’s 30th member after all allies ratify its accession.

    READ MORE: State Dept Warns US Citizens of Heightened Terror Risks in North Macedonia

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