North Macedonia puts up new name on border with Greece
February 13 2019 05:07 PM
Workers set up a sign with Macedonia's new name at the border between Macedonia and Greece, near Gev
Workers set up a sign with Macedonia's new name at the border between Macedonia and Greece, near Gevgelija

Dpa/Belgrade

The freshly renamed country of North Macedonia on Wednesday put its new name on the border with Greece, ending a 28-year feud with its neighbour.

Workers pasted a paper sign reading ‘Republic of North Macedonia’ in Macedonian and English over the large metal plate with the old inscription, proclaiming ‘Republic of Macedonia.’  The change on the Bogorodica border crossing with Greece was the first of thousands North Macedonia will have to carry out in the coming days.

It will replace the plates with the old name on institutions, roads, airports and diplomatic missions.

Just the previous evening, the government in Skopje said that it has formally changed the name, as agreed with Greece.

The parliament had passed constitutional amendments adding the geographic qualifier to its name in January, which were then enacted on Tuesday.

The Greek and North Macedonian leftist premiers, Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, agreed the name change in June, in a bid to end a dispute over the name Macedonia.

Greece claims the name and its ancient legacy for its northern province and had been blocking the former Yugoslav republic from NATO and EU membership, accusing it of intent to steal Hellenic history and even territory.

With the dispute settled, Athens has lifted its veto on Macedonia's NATO membership - the country already last week signed an accession protocol with the allies and Greece was the first to ratify it only two days later.

Zaev said earlier that, with the obstacle removed by Greece, he hopes his country will open EU membership talks in June.



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