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Greece backs Macedonia's NATO bid, completing name deal

AFP  |  Athens 

Greek lawmakers have approved Macedonia's accession bid, putting the final touches on a historic deal to end a 27-year name row between the two

A majority of 153 lawmakers supported the legislation, while 140 voted against.

"Today's vote closes the most important round of obligations involving Greece," told parliament ahead of the vote on Friday.

"I'd like to welcome North Macedonia, a country friendly to Greece, a country that must be an ally in efforts to establish security, stability and peace in the region.

"History will judge us. I feel we have carried out our patriotic duty," Tsipras said.

The ratification was part of a deal signed in June to change Macedonia's name to the Republic of North Macedonia, and lift Greek objections to its EU and membership bids.

Tsipras on Friday said the deal had "upgraded" Greece's international standing.

must adopt the new name "in the public discourse, in addition to all street signs and official documents," he added.

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

In ancient times it was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire, a source of intense pride for Greeks.

On Wednesday, signed accession papers in that will lead to becoming the alliance's 30th member once the bid has been ratified by all members.

NATO has said may now take part in NATO ministerial meetings as an invitee, starting with a gathering of defence ministers in next week.

For to achieve full membership, NATO'S 29 current members must ratify the When joined in 2017 that process took about a year.

NATO and the EU believe Macedonia's membership will enhance stability in the Balkans, while the alliance's expansion into the region has been opposed by

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

First Published: Sat, February 09 2019. 02:30 IST