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Greek Parliament Ratifies Protocol on Northern Macedonia's Accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Greek Parliament Ratifies Protocol on Northern Macedonia's Accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members signed an accord with Macedonia on Wednesday, allowing the republic to become the 30th member of the USA -led alliance, after a deal with Greece ended a 27-year-old dispute over its name.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (1st R) addresses Greek lawmakers on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) NATO accession protocol, in Athens, Greece, on February 8, 2019.

North Macedonia is "a country that must be a supporter - and not an opponent - of our efforts to establish safety, stability, and cooperation in the wider region", he added.

Greek Parliament ratified the NATO accord with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for its admission into the alliance under its new name, Republic of North Macedonia.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members signed the accession protocol with Macedonia on Wednesday, days after the Greek parliament endorsed an agreement between Athens and Skopje that changed the Balkan state's name.

FYROM will then write to the United Nations, its member states and worldwide organizations, formally announcing the name change.

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Greece and the former Yugoslav republic - independent since 1991 - struck the historic agreement last summer, despite protests from opposition parties, and ratified it in parliament.

A government spokesman told the AP this would happen "in coming days".

Lawmakers late February 8 voted 153-140 to ratify the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession protocol for neighboring Macedonia that must now also be approved by all other alliance members.

The main catalyst for the change was FYROM's wish to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and, eventually, the European Union, and western countries' desire to diminish Russian influence in the region. Nationalist groups in both countries opposed the deal, with many saying it gave up too much to the other side.

Opposition ND party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, claimed the Greek nation is against the decision and the approving of the protocol is a "national defeat".

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