Greek Parliament Ratifies Protocol on Northern Macedonia's Accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Austria Macedonia

Austria Macedonia

"Today's vote closes the most important round of obligations involving Greece", Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament ahead of the vote.

Greece has ratified a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accord with Macedonia for the admission of the former Yugoslav Republic into the US-led military alliance after a deal over the name ended a 27-year-old dispute between them.

Tsipras and his counterpart from Skopje, Zoran Zaev, achieved the Prespa Agreement, meant to bring to an end the decades-long dispute over the use of the name "Republic of Macedonia" by the former Yugoslav republic. The protocol was approved by 153 MPs.

Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because Greece has a northern province of the same name.

NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg presided over Wednesday's ceremony a NATO's headquarters, where Macedonia was invited to join the pact. A poll showed that two-thirds of the public opposed the move.

The agreement also almost toppled his government last month after triggering the breakup of his coalition with the nationalist Independent Greeks party.

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Ruling Syriza and Potami parties backed the vote while main opposition New Democracy (ND) party and Independent Greeks (ANEL) voted against the protocol.

Staring down strong domestic opposition from Greeks anxious the Balkan neighbor was appropriating Greek heritage, the government of leftist Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras pushed the name change through parliament on January 25.

Once all Nato member states have ratified the accession protocol, the Republic of North Macedonia will be a member of the Alliance.

"I am proud of the stance of the lawmakers who voted the deal".

Macedonia will then write to the United Nations, its member states and worldwide organizations, formally announcing the name change.

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