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13 June 2018 Historical deal in sight between Greece and the likely to be named Republic of North Macedonia

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom), reached an agreement on 12 June with the Hellenic Republic to be renamed officially Severna Makedonija, or Republic of North Macedonia, a term to be used both internationally and bilaterally. The agreement also foresees that the language will be officially named Macedonian (part of the Slavic family and “unrelated to ancient Greek heritage” according to the agreement) and that its people, will be known as Macedonians, citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia. The agreement would also include some language on the fact that the history of North Macedonia has no relation to ancient Greek civilisation. For more than 25 years, Greece had objected to the name Macedonia, fearing territorial claims on its eponymous northern region. This objection consistently materialized in Greece vetoing its neighbour’s bid to join Nato and the European Union. Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised the two prime ministers for their “willingness” to solve the dispute while HRVP Mogherini congratulated both presidents for their “determination and leadership in reaching this historic agreement between their countries, which contributes to the transformation of the entire region of South-East Europe”. The deal is expected to be signed on 16 June on the shores of Lake Prespa, which spans the countries’ borders and needs to be ratified both by the Macedonian people in a referendum and the Greek parliament.