Greece – FYROM Reach Deal and the Name is: Republic of Northern Macedonia

FILE- In this Wednesday, Oct, 8, 2014 file photo, a modern bronze statue of Alexander the Great stands under the cloudy sky of the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

ATHENS (AP) — Greece and FYROM reached an historic agreement Tuesday to end a bitter 27-year name dispute that had kept the smaller and younger country out of international institutions such as NATO, the two countries’ prime ministers announced.

Greece’s Alexis Tsipras and FYROM’s Zoran Zaev said the former Yugoslav republic’s new name for both domestic and international purposes would be Republic of Northern Macedonia. FYROM will also amend its constitution to reflect the change as part of the deal.

The nationality of the country’s citizens will be listed on official documents as “Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of Macedonia.”

NATO and European Union officials welcomed the breakthrough, which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said would help consolidate regional peace and stability.

Greece had long demanded that its northern neighbor change or modify its name to avoid any claim to the territory and ancient heritage of the region in northern Greece named Macedonia — birthplace of ancient warrior king Alexander the Great.

The current prime ministers’ attempts to end the dispute have faced dissent in both countries, leading to large protests by opponents of a compromise, threatening to split Greece’s governing coalition and provoking a rift between FYROM’s prime minister and president.

And main opposition parties in both countries rejected the agreement.

Zaev said the deal would be signed this weekend, and a voter referendum would be held in the fall.

In a televised address, Tsipras said the 140 countries which had recognized the Balkan state simply as FYROM would now recognize it as Republic of Northern Macedonia.

“This achieves a clear distinction between Greek Macedonia and our northern neighbors and puts an end to the irredentism which their current constitutional name implies,” he said. He added that FYROM “cannot and will not be able in the future to claim any connection with the ancient Greek civilization of Macedonia.”

Speaking at a news conference in the FYROM’s capital, Skopje, Zaev described the deal as a “historic agreement of the century.”

“We have been solving a two-and-a-half decade dispute … that has been drowning the country,” he said, adding that the deal “will strengthen the Macedonian identity.”

FYROM’s Prime Minister Zoran Zeav talks to the media during a news conference in the Government building in Skopje, FYROM, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

On the timeline of the deal, Tsipras said that it would be first signed by the two countries’ foreign ministers and then ratified by FYROM’s parliament.

Greece will then back invitations for FYROM to join NATO and start negotiations on joining the EU. However, Tsipras said, this will be contingent on FYROM completing the constitutional changes.

“In other words, if the constitutional amendment is not successfully completed, then the invitation to join NATO will be automatically rescinded and the accession talks with the European Union will not start,” he said.

The deal was welcomed by EU officials.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted his “sincere congratulations” to Tsipras and Zaev. “I am keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks to you, the impossible is becoming possible,” he said.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and commissioner Johannes Hahn issued a joint statement congratulating the two prime ministers “in reaching this historic agreement between their countries, which contributes to the transformation of the entire region of South-East Europe.”

They said they looked forward to accession negotiations beginning with Skopje in June.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras leaves the Presidential Palace after his meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in Athens, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

However, both prime ministers faced dissent at home.

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, whose right-wing Independent Greeks party is Tsipras’ governing coalition partner, said he would oppose an agreement in a parliamentary vote, meaning the left-wing prime minister will need to seek support from political opponents.

In Skopje, meanwhile, FYROM’s President Gjorge Ivanov said earlier in the day that he remained opposed to writing the new name into the constitution, a move intended to show the change is permanent and binding for domestic and international use.

The main opposition party in FYROM, the conservative VMRO-DPMNE, accused Zaev of “capitulating” to Greece.

“In essence, the (deal) is acceptance of all Greek positions,” VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said.

In Athens, conservative main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Tsipras not to go ahead with the agreement.

“This is a bad agreement that is in conflict with the majority of the Greek people,” he said.

Organizers of past rallies in Greece’s main cities against a compromise with FYROM also expressed outrage at the deal, with one accusing Tsipras of “high treason.”

“He was Skopje’s best negotiator,” Michael Patsikas told The Associated Press.

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By ELENA BECATOROS and JASMINA MIRONSKI , Associated Press

Mironski contributed from Skopje, FYROM. Nicholas Paphitis and Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Greece, and Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, contributed.

12 Comments

    1. While, it is prudent to first get an official declaration of the agreement and the actual name change …to Northern Macedonia… when dealing with any information from the new generation of news outlets…it should kick off the next steps by the Parliament of Greece….which is not only the complete refuting of this agreement, but the letters of impeachment of Mr. Tsipras.

      The only legitimacy ….the name Northern Macedonia provides…..is for the Greek government to immediately annex this territory, and return it to Macedonia in Greece! Whats next….lets go back to East and West Germany or East and West Berlin….and put up a fence, and keep those Nationalist from Northern Macedonia from believing that they must liberate southern Macedonia from Greece by creating political havoc and formenting unrest….

      It is another example….of how much the United States and Nato…have taken over the sovereignty of Greece, to represent their interests of adding another vassal state to Nato, to do what they have Greece doing….representing their political, economic , and military interests, not the people of Greece!

      Unfortunately, Mr. Tsipras is too familiar, with what happens to leaders who interfere with the global plans of the United States and Nato vassal states….they wind up like Iraq, libya, Syria, Afganistan, Yemen, Somalia, Yugoslavia, with Iran, Russia, and China now the added enemies of obstruction!

      So, allegedly, Mr. Tsipras had in his hands…..the power to prevent the former member of the dismembered country of Yugoslavia by Nato from not only gaining entry into Nato, but if accurate, the E.U. Just think, something coveted by the former republic of Yugoslavia, and from which ….even the dreaded, and despised NATO ALLY TURKEY can not gain entry to the E.U. , will be extinguished, and sold for 30 pieces of silver! This is treachery at the highest levels….and betrays the very foundations of Greek culture and civilization….that shaped in reality, the only country of the world, who can actually claim….be the root of West civilization…which unfortunately….. has made a mockery of those roots!

      As a Greek American of Spartan descent….. should I tell all the officials of the universities , cities, states , buildings, etc etc.. of America, who use the Spartan name and symbols to identify themselves, in order to enhance their image, because the Spartan history…. represents what they wish they represented….honor, courage….and most importantly, never surrendering their sovereignty!

      Should I tell them , that my ancestors, who they respected for their history, and used as an example of what they wished to be identified as and envied ….were part of another bunch of people …..who call themselves Spartans….thousands of years later!

      This is hilarious…. what’s next…..the children of New Jersey….. should consider the town of Sparta, New Jersey….the birthplace of King leonidas, not as written in the annals of history!

      Just think ….peddlers can sell in the new Northern Macedonia….little bronze statues of Alexander the Great….from Northern Macedonia, because no one can argue, he was Not Macedonian!

      I don’t know what cut…Mr. Tsipras get from royalties of these sales…but as far as I’m concern…the looting of Greece thruout history, when she was in the mist of turmoil by the United Kingdom…and is on display at the British Museum, Germany, United States, Turkey and now the former Yugoslavia republic can only be attributed to corrupt collaborators from a government , which has done nothing but comply with all these Nato countries, and includes the government of Cyprus, but I do know this….the people of Greece have always found a way to survive them, and maintain its place in world history! I have complete confidence…. in their spirit ..which no one has been able to keep unlit for centuries!

      Michael Gianakos

    2. This is no time for such exaggerated ambitions for Greece. We will be doing well and responsibly by holding our own. See my comment below.

    3. Amen Michael! So to review this is what we have:

      Greek government unilaterally give up the name Macedonia and the opportunity to correct FYROM a blunder

      No consideration or formal discussion with other government ministers

      A slap to the faces of the Greek populous bith domestic and international-long live democracy

      a slap to all Makedonomachoi who fought for Makedonia

      a new name that implies the top segment or portion of a whole as in Northern Ireland Northern Korea or Northern Cyprus -tell me how those names worked

      Internationally and in English they will still be referred to as Macedonians

      There language will still be referred to as Macedonian

      They still have symbols of Greek history in Use ie their flag from start of Vergina statues of AlexAnder and Philip to name but a few

      A country who will be close allies to Turkey see Erdogans wishes for Skopia

      And on and on….

      The Children of Efialtes, Judas , and the janissaries have spit on Greece again

      Shame on them and may they get what they deserve!

      Th

  1. For Greece, a deal to change that place’s name to Northern Macedonia is probably the best that could have been hoped for. For those Greeks who still feel uncomfortable about the national name still including the term “Macedonia,” please keep in mind that issue was largely lost by us over recent years by not riding herd on the English-speaking world’s mapmakers, who routinely used the national name “Macedonia” with no explanation of its unresolved nature.

    Of course, vigilance will need to be maintained over the atlas and cartographic industry to be sure that “Northern Macedonia” is actually used from now on, instead of just “Macedonia.”

    Moreover, by using “Northern” in the national name, that nation’s claims of land within Greece’s boundaries will be further discredited.

    It will be good to put this half-defeat, half-victory behind us, with the issues of an expansionist Turkey looming large.

  2. Now is the time to RIOT, for a true cause. Overthrow the Traitors SYRIZA, ANEL -That Fat Liar Kemmenos. And all the rest..Greece is now at the bottom of the barrel, sold its pride now its names..anarchist rule the greek streets and traitors rule in government…Snap elections, but sorry ND sucks to its your daddy Kyriakos that started this whole mess…just the other day outside of greece you said it wouldn’t be bad if the name Macedonia was in the name, only in greece do you change your stance you are unfit to rule. Burn political Athens to the ground. Only after the ashes have cooled can you now rebuild.

  3. This is tough to swallow. Why is the citizenship card going to state “citizen of Republic of Macedonia “? And not northern Macedonia ? They forced this on us when our economy is weak and we have erdoclown barking right next door to us while having the most incompetant Greek government since Andrea papandreo introduced socialism to the Greeks. Very sketchy. Let’s see if the skpopians actually ratify it .

  4. Extremist inflammatory talk yes indeed. As the Center-PASOK, Right-ND, and now the Uber-Left SYRIA destroy what is left of greece. The two parties before SYRIZA made this financial mess, and SYRIZA is finishing the job, who owns greece? Chinese the ports, Italians the railways, the EU EMF and foreign banks the rest. Use the word JUNTA, Yes that famous word from the 60’s-70’s did you know the junta gave jobs to Alexis Tsipras Father and uncle..nice close connection with left and right. The term junta means control of everything, government, military, judicial, media etc, why are there nation wide protest against skopje, yet ERT doesnt show one sec of it? Who controls everything in greece now SYRIZA…selling our name so a pipeline can go through greek and skopje territory.
    2019 will be the year a new greece is reborn, not ND, PASOK, but a new party that is fair for all, left on social issues, and right on national and defense of territory…..who cares what they call our neighbors, we will call them skopje, they want to join the EU so they can freely move across the greek border to work live etc, Sorry not an entrance point..we need our borders back secure.,from skopje, albanians, bulgarians, turks, and refugees…Stay in NYC where you think you know all….let us live our rights…

    1. In your first comment you talked about how it was time to riot. And how you wanted to “burn political Athens to the ground.”

      In your second comment you predicted support for a new party to be victorious in 2019. That is much better. Political change, yes, but rioting, no.

    2. Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.

      -Martin Luther King Jr.

      Well said…. Mr. Pavlos Serritas…. I do not consider you an extremist or any of the other writes who care enough to speak up and demand compliance to the people of Greece….not degenerate leaders and foreign Aristocratic white supremacist who believe that they are so “ideologically exceptional” and “financially” empowered to control the sovereignty of not just a countries military, policies, and resources….but their culture!

      Mr. Tsipras…has exposed to not only Greeks, but the world…. what you are selling , when you are part of the organized Crime family of Nato ….and its protection racket! You see this order …which is merely the front of the Richest Aristocrats in the world …. have no culture except for making money! Culture…is an enemy of theirs…because, it is an obstruction to their control and ability to mine the resources of the countries of the world!
      Today, they have thru Nato and the United States….not only destroyed the countries of the Middle East, but erased their cultures…and left them ….totally reliant to the Aristocratic Global alliance of White supremacist from foreign countries , who have no respect for their future and security, and not based on what their culture had amassed over years…and which was the foundation of their society and way of life!

      Mr. Serretas…is not only correct, but is a true patriot who will not stand by ….and allow the Politically Correct allegiance to this aristocracy, which includes the mainstream media in continuing to misrepresent and justify the policies of these degenerates, who have no concious in the consequences of their actions to the mass of people …. and think so little of them….that they can expect them to accept an insulting resolution …to change the name of Fryom to add Northern to Macedonia! This to me…is the greatest reason to change a government….. because like the hijacked governments of the United States and Nato…..they have no fear of lying or taking bizarre actions…without any logical explanation, or care to the consequences of the people they allegedly represent. And then the Media collaboration is exposed…..by their total lack of transparency, in providing the real implication and truths of their actions to the public!

      The perfect example of who controls and manipulates the governments of Nato and the United States….is how the country of Hungary has recognized and moved ahead to ban …one of the leading Aristocratic billionaires who is part of this international Global Alliance…The Great George Soros! His meddling and money influence in the government of Hungary….finally earned him and rightfully so….barring from the country of Hungary! Of course, Mr. Soros continues to operate within the halls of Belgium, Washington Tel Aviv, and Dubai!….

      No Mr Sakerlaris….Mr. Sorretas is not an extremist…but merely a patriot…who has struck a blow for the people of Greece.and the world…which is what you are missing….

      He is not satisfied with having fundamental freedoms, if the price to be payed is remaining silent to injustices of his country and as Martin Luther King said….doing the right thing!

      The right thing…is withdrawal from Nato and the EU….and let Greeks be Greeks….and that is what the culture of Greece demands…. and what the EU and Nato envy…because like Mr. Serritis….they have what they do not have…and that is passion for life! And that is why 32 million people come to Greece…to have that! That is the greatness of Greece…and why Greece does not need Nato or the EU…..but they need Greece!

      Michael Gianakos

    3. I was hoping the this deal could be swallowed so that a united front against Turkey could be possible. Now, for better or worse, it looks like the deal will collapse.

      So…when the inevitable criticism over the Greek stand on the the Skopje issue comes from western media, we will have to have to be united–and should not hate one another.

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