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Greece announces accord in Macedonia name row

AFP  |  Athens 

and have agreed on a new name for the country of to end a 27-year dispute, Greek said today.

objects to the country to its north being called because it has its own northern province of the same name.

hopes that resolving the dispute will help clear the way for it to join the and NATO.

Tsipras said a deal had been struck on a compromise name acceptable to both countries, after speaking on the telephone with Macedonian today.

"We have reached an accord, a good accord that covers all the conditions set by Greece," Tsipras said in televised comments after briefing Greece's on the accord.

He said Macedonia would take a new "compound name with a geographical designation", but did not specify what it would be.

Greek officials said earlier that the list had been narrowed down to "New Macedonia", "Northern Macedonia" or "Upper Macedonia", after months of discussions.

The accord aims to end a row dating back to 1991 when Macedonia declared independence from

Greek prepared a 20-page draft agreement after repeated talks with his Macedonian counterpart

Kotzias told Kontra TV yesterday that the agreement would specify that Macedonia's language is of Slavic origin.

"It's clear that (Macedonia) bears no relation to the ancient (Macedonian) culture... and that their language belongs to the Slavic language," he said.

A complete deal could take months, and both governments have faced criticism at home over a possible compromise.

Macedonia's said today it was "irresponsible" to discuss such "an extremely important issue" in a phone call.

"There is a need for a wider national consensus to find a solution that won't hurt the dignity of the Macedonian people and citizens," said Ivanov.

He is close to a nationalist party which was defeated by Zaev in elections last year. This year there have been several protests against an agreement in Athens, Thessaloniki and

Greek Panos Kammenos, a hardline junior coalition in Tsipras's government, dismissed talk of a deal, saying there was "no chance" Zaev could get it approved.

will be called to ratify a possible deal after Macedonian lawmakers approve it, provided that fulfils preliminary EU and NATO requirements to begin membership talks, Kotzias said.

"Our parliament (approval) will follow internal procedures (in Macedonia). They need these procedures to begin (talks) with the EU and NATO. When this is done, we will need to ratify the deal so it can take effect," he said.

Skopje hopes to secure a date to begin accession talks at an EU summit in late June, and an invitation to join NATO in mid-July.

has long objected to its neighbour's constitutional name -- the Republic of Macedonia -- because it fears it could imply territorial ambitions.

Ancient Macedonia was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire, a point of pride to Greeks today.

But under the Romans, the province of Macedonia was expanded to include territory in modern-day Greece, Macedonia, and

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 12 2018. 22:15 IST
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