Greek PM congratulates FYROM counterpart over Macedonia name-change vote

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-12 04:28:56|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ATHENS, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras congratulated his counterpart of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Zoran Zaev on Friday evening for the outcome of the vote at Skopje's parliament on the Macedonia name deal reached between the two countries last summer.

Tsipras congratulated Zaev "for the successful completion of the revision of FYROM's constitution on the basis of the Prespes (or Prespa) Agreement", read an e-mailed statement issued from Tsipras' office.

Greece and FYROM signed the historic agreement which resolves a long-standing dispute at Prespes lakes, the natural border between the two states.

On Friday following a marathon process, Skopje's assembly approved with 81 votes for and none against the necessary constitutional changes tabled by the government based on the deal.

The amendments concerned among others the change of the country's name to "Republic of North Macedonia" and a clear reference that the state respects the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of its neighboring states.

Since 1991 when the small Balkan state declared independence from Yugoslavia, Greece objected to the selection of the name Macedonia fearing future territorial claims, because a northern Greek province has the same name.

The agreement now needs to be ratified by the Greek parliament before it comes into force. Tsipras has said his government will bring it for vote in parliament by February.

Although Panos Kammenos, Greek Defense Minister and leader of the junior party in the Greek ruling coalition, has repeatedly said that he and his deputies will vote against the deal, other cabinet ministers have reassured in statements to many local media lately that the government expects that the deal will be ratified.

Opposition parties' deputies have indicated that they will vote in favor.