Northern light: Macedonia makes name change deal with Greece

The new name will be used both domestically and internationally, and Macedonia will amend its constitution as part of the deal.

Greece regards "Macedonia" as a term referring only to one of its northern regions and the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, and insists on the use of another name for its northern neighbor.

Neighbouring Macedonia and Greece announced on Tuesday they have reached a historic compromise solution to their decades-long name dispute, agreeing that Macedonia will use the composite name "Republic of North Macedonia".

Following the latest round of discussions, Macedonia is now set to be known as the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev made the announcements shortly after speaking by phone on Tuesday.

Greece had long demanded the former Yugoslav republic change or modify its name to avoid any claim to the territory and ancient heritage of Greece's northern region of Macedonia - birthplace of ancient warrior king Alexander the Great.

The Republic of Northern Macedonia is the new name of the former Yugoslav republic that PMs Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev have agreed on.

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Greece, an European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member, has also cited the dispute to veto Macedonia's bid to join the two organizations.

Greece and Macedonia are involved in a longtime dispute over the name of the Republic of Macedonia.

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.

But Macedonia feared that a name change could have a negative impact on the national identity of its people, the majority of whom simply call themselves "Macedonians".

After splitting from the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia was admitted into the United Nations in 1993 as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

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

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