Macedonia Parliament Votes To Change The Country's Name
Macedonia has approved a deal with Greece to change its name, ending a 27-year dispute.
Almost two-thirds of the Macedonian parliament passed an amendment to change the country's name to the 'Republic of North Macedonia'.
A name-change deal between Greece and Macedonia was agreed in June last year, and was voted on by the Macedonian parliament on Friday.
Of the 120 seat parliament in Macedonia, 82 agreed to the change, but it did face opposition from members of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) who boycotted the vote.
“A new historical chapter in our statehood has been written this evening,” the Macedonian government said in a statement.
"Parliament has made difficult decisions, and this is not an easy decision today. But there are serious and responsible decisions that guarantee the future of Macedonia."
The name dispute has seen Greece stop Macedonia's accession to the EU and blocked an invitation to join NATO.
Greece has maintained the use of the name 'Macedonia' has implied territorial claims to a Greek province of the same name.
“It makes absolutely plausible two of our biggest state interests - membership in NATO and EU," the Macedonian government said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed the vote, and said he hoped the outcome would bring stability to the region.
"#NATO strongly supports the full implementation of the agreement, which is an important contribution to a stable and prosperous region," he tweeted.
The country will officially be renamed after the Greek parliament ratifies the changes.