Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Macedonia Name Dispute: PMs Watch As Ministers Sign 'Historic' Deal

Bulgaria Academic from the United States Suggests Tsipras and Zaev for Nobel for Peace Send to Kindle
Ellis Copeland | 20 June, 2018, 02:29

Greece and Macedonia on Sunday signed a deal to resolve a decades-old dispute concerning Macedonia's name.

But the Government suffered a loss in its parliamentary majority after MP Dimitris Kammenos of the nationalist Independent Greeks, the Government's junior coalition partner, voted in favour.

Articles in the Constitution which relate to the need of the country to take care of Macedonian minorities in neighbouring countries should also be removed.

Officials later blamed the incident on far-right supporters of Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, some of whom attacked the cars of lawmakers after the vote. Greece argued that the name "Macedonia" implied territorial claims on its province of the same name, which is the birthplace of the ancient warrior king Alexander the Great, and usurped its ancient Greek heritage and history.

A day earlier, Tsipras survived a no-confidence motion over the deal, filed by the country's main opposition party, New Democracy.

Greek police fired teargas at protesters outside parliament on Saturday as lawmakers were in session discussing a no-confidence motion against the government over a controversial name deal with neighboring Macedonia.

"This is a mutually beneficial agreement which fully respects the values and the principles of the people", Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said ahead of the deal signing, which he attended with his counterpart Zoran Zaev, Greek news outlet Ekathimerini reported. Zaev has said he will put it to a referendum in the autumn.

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"Skopje and Athens, after 25 years of negotiations, succeeded in reaching a historical agreement. although there are big challenges on the way to its implementation considering the resistance in both states towards this agreement", reports euronews' Borjan Jovanovski.

- Within a month of signing the deal, both countries will establish a committee of experts on historic, educational and archaeological matters to consider interpretation of historical events.

"We are proud of today's agreement. may we stay as united forever as we are on this day", he said.

The signing ceremony was protected by a heavy police presence on both sides of the border as opponents of the agreement in both countries had announced protests.

Tsipras' domestic critics say he has bargained away Greece's diplomatic advantages - the power of veto over European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession - for a deal that could backfire.

In Skopje, President Gjorge Ivanov, who has veto power over legislation, said he won't sign off on it and the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party that backs him called protests against the deal for Sunday. If it passes again, President Ivanov would then be obliged to approve the legislation.

Even if it is ratified by Macedonia, the Greek government will also face big obstacles in carrying out its side of the process.

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