Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute

New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis slammed the deal reached between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Tuesday, calling it a "bad deal" that recognizes a Macedonian ethnicity and language.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras said in a televised statement on Tuesday that Macedonia's name change to "Republic of North Mecedonia" would be reflected both domestically and overseas.

The Greek prime minister will now inform the country's president and will later give a televised statement.

Speaking at a news conference in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, Zaev described the deal as a "historic agreement of the century".

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

He added that Macedonia "cannot and will not be able in the future to claim any connection with the ancient Greek civilisation of Macedonia". A meeting of the two soon may seal the deal, he said.

"This historic agreement is testament to many years of patient diplomacy and to the willingness of these two leaders to solve a dispute which has affected the region for too long", said Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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While the debate over the name might seem trivial, Greece has gone as far as to block Macedonia from joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or the European Union because of its name.

Greece will then back invitations for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and start negotiations on joining the European Union. Most opposition parties have criticized Tsipras's tactics, and even his coalition partner, the right-wing Independent Greeks, have said they will not back an accord that allows the continued use of "Macedonia".

The deal was welcomed by European Union officials.

The deal was welcomed by EU officials, with European Council president Donald Tusk tweeting his "sincere congratulations" to Mr Tsipras and Mr Zaev.

"I am keeping my fingers crossed", he said. "Thanks to you, the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

The EU's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the deal "contributes to the transformation of the entire region of southeast Europe".

The United Nations envoy who mediated the dispute for two decades congratulated Tsipras and Zaev for resolving their differences.

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However, both prime ministers faced dissent at home.

"This has no precedent in Greek political and constitutional history and an insult of the parliamentary system", he said.

"The name change will be implemented not only the country's worldwide relations but also domestically", Tsipras said adding that Skopje would need to revise its constitution.

The main opposition party in Macedonia, the conservative VMRO-DPMNE, accused Zaev of "capitulating" to Greece.

Protesters from across Greece converge in Athens to protest a potential Greek compromise in a dispute with Macedonia earlier this year.

"He was Skopje's best negotiator", Michael Patsikas told The Associated Press.

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