Macedonian PM: Greece's turn to make history with name deal

Macedonian PM: Greece's turn to make history with name deal

"A new historical chapter in our statehood has been written this evening", the Macedonian government said in a statement.

Eighty-one deputies in the 120-seat parliament voted in favor, securing the required two-thirds majority, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

Macedonia passed the deal as an amendment to its constitution on Friday, in line with an agreement with Greece to resolve a three-decades long dispute.

The vote followed intense negotiations between Zaev's center-left coalition and some opposition lawmakers, who had initially agreed to back the agreement but raised last-minute objections.

"My sincerest congratulations to political actors and citizens of the hopefully soon to be North Macedonia on Parliament's vote on the constitutional changes", Hahn tweeted.

"The Macedonia name issue. doesn't allow me not to sacrifice the minister's chair", Kammenos said after meeting the prime minister on Sunday morning.

Greece is bound by terms of the deal to stop blocking Macedonia from NATOand other global groups and to allow it to start European Union accession talks as part of the deal.

The change won't be official until the Greek parliament approves it.

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Macedonia's parliament approved constitutional changes renaming the country North Macedonia, under a deal with neighboring Greece that will clear the way for Macedonia to join NATO and potentially the European Union.

Previous Greek governments have also claimed that the tiny Republic of Macedonia might use the name to make territorial claims on its province.

Parliamentary elections are due in Greece by October.

Panos Kammenos, Greece's defence minister, said he had tendered his resignation during talks with Alexis Tsipras and withdrawn his ministers from the government.

ANEL is the junior party in Greece's ruling coalition and strongly opposes the name change, a rift that threatens to destabilise the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who helped broker the deal.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally invited Macedonia to join the military alliance in 2008, but Greece vetoed the move, claiming that Macedonia's name implies territorial aspirations toward Greece's northern province with the same name as well as appropriating Greece's historical heritage.

A protest against the name change took place outside the Macedonian Parliament during its Friday session, and a Greek prosecutor on Saturday ordered a probe into alleged threats against pro-deal lawmakers.

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