UN envoy welcomes Greece ratification of Macedonia name-change deal

  26 January 2019    Read: 1907
UN envoy welcomes Greece ratification of Macedonia name-change deal

Matthew Nimetz, the UN envoy who brokered a Greece-Macedonia deal on their disputes over the latter's name, welcomed Friday Greek lawmakers' ratification of the accord. 

"I welcome the ratification of the Prespa Agreement by the parliament of Greece. I wish to commend the parliament and the government of Greece on this visionary step," Nimetz said in a statement.

"This historic agreement between two neighbors opens the door to a new relationship between them and ushers in a new era for the consolidation of peace and security in the Balkans," added the personal envoy of the UN secretary-general for the name issue.

Nimetz further said he looks forward to completion of the process as outlined in the agreement and reiterated the continued commitment of the United Nations to working with the two parties.

Greece and Macedonia have been in dispute since 1991, when the former Yugoslav republic gained independence. Greece has objected to its neighbor's constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia, fearing that the name indicates territorial ambitions over the northern Greek province of Macedonia. Greece's objection has impeded Skopje's bids to join NATO and the European Union.

Under the UN-brokered Prespa Agreement reached in June 2018, Macedonia's constitutional name would become "the Republic of North Macedonia."

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