'Greece’s prime minister hailed “a new page for the Balkans” on Friday after the Greek parliament narrowly approved a deal by which Macedonia, its northern neighbour, will change its name to North Macedonia.
The ratification of the historic accord brings to an end a 28-year diplomatic dispute and opens the way for North Macedonia, a nation of two million people, to join NATO and the EU, in a move aimed at thwarting Russian influence in the region.
Despite trenchant opposition to the deal by many Greeks, the 300-seat parliament in Athens voted by 153 votes to 146 to accede to Macedonia changing its name to North Macedonia.
The parliamentary debate which preceded the vote was fraught with emotion and accusations of treason and betrayal by opponents of the deal.
The geographical qualifier is intended to placate Greeks who say that their northern region, also called Macedonia, is the true heir to the ancient Macedonia kingdom of Alexander the Great and a subsequent Roman province bearing the name Macedonia.
Greece had objected to Macedonia’s name since the former Yugoslav republic’s independence in 1991, saying that it implied a territorial claim on parts of Greek Macedonia.
As a temporary compromise it was known by the clunky moniker of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM.'
Read more: Greece achieves 'mission impossible' by ratifying name change deal with Macedonia
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