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Macedonian government agreed to change the country’s name after decades-long dispute with Greece

Macedonian government agreed to change the country’s name after decades-long dispute with Greece

Macedonia, the former Yugoslav republic, is changing its name after 27 years of dispute with Greece. The Republic of North Macedonia will be a new name of FYROM, BBC reports.

Greece has long objected to the use of the name Macedonia because it is also used by an adjacent Greek region. The governments of Macedonia and Greece has struck an agreement to change the name of the ex-republic of Yugoslavia. At last, the long-running dispute between the two nations is ended.

Under the deal FYROM’s name would be changed to the Republic of Northern Macedonia, the name would be used both internally by the government and externally when conducting foreign affairs. The accord was finalised during a phone call between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev on Tuesday, and in return for the name change Greece would lift its vetoes on the country joining the EU and Nato.

The highly anticipated agreement is set to be formally signed on Saturday at Lake Prespa, which straddles the country’s border, and that of neighbouring Albania.

“The name change will be implemented not only in the country’s international relations but also domestically,”

Alex Tsipras said in a televised press conference, while Mr Zaev, speaking separately, told his countrymen: “There is no way back.” The PM called on the opposition to back the name change and said it would guarantee access to the EU and NATO, principal Macedonia’s aspirations.

Negotiations, which have been on and off for 27 years, have intensified in recent months under the oversight of EU, US, and German diplomats.

Some Greeks have accused Macedonians, who speak a Slavic language, of appropriating aspects of Greek culture. As a goodwill gesture preceding the deal, in February of this year the Macedonian government renamed Skopje’s airport, which was previously known as Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, to Skopje International Airport.