“More than 1,000 Macedonians protested on Saturday evening against the change of the name of the former Yugoslav Republic which was agreed with neighboring Greece to end a decades-long dispute.
Last week, the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia signed an accord to rename the tiny ex-Yugoslav republic the “Republic of North Macedonia.”
The agreement, which unlocked Macedonia’s path to possible European Union and NATO membership, triggered protests by nationalists.” (VoA)
“Over 5,000 people demonstrated in Greece’s second-largest city against a deal with Macedonia that seeks to end nearly 27 years of disagreement between the two countries over Macedonia’s name.
The protesters marched toward the Macedonian consulate in Thessaloniki and then the offices of the two partners in Greece’s coalition government, Syriza and the Independent Greeks, on Sunday.” (Tampa Bay)
“After reaching an agreement with Greece, Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska sent a letter to the defense ministers of the 29 NATO member states, in which she requested support for Macedonia at the Alliance Summit in July to receive an invitation to join NATO. Sekerinska also had telephone conversations with some of them in which congratulations were conveyed on the achieved agreement, and expressed support for Macedonia’s membership in NATO.
In a letter to its counterparts in the Alliance, Sekerinska states:
‘I am writing to you after attaining a historic agreement on the name dispute with Greece. This obstacle to our Euro-Atlantic integration has been removed. I am asking for your support for Macedonia to receive an invitation for full membership in NATO at the upcoming Summit. It took courage, leadership and diplomacy to achieve this goal – on both sides. Our people are united and unequivocal in the desire to become part of NATO and the EU, with the consistent support of more than 75% of our citizens,’ the minister said.” (translated from Makfax)
“The letters saying Greece will not oppose Macedonia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration will be signed on Sunday and sent early on Monday, said Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Friday.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a Conference for Security and Stability on the Greek island of Rhodes, FM Kotzias said he had sent a letter to the NATO Secretary-General prior to last week’s signing of the name agreement, referring to the prerequisites for membership as stipulated in the agreement itself.
The Greek FM confirmed he has received the note from the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the agreement’s ratification in the Parliament, saying Greece would fulfill its part of the deal.
‘The letters have been drafted since Wednesday. I chose to sign them in Brussels on Sunday, so that they are filed to the European Commission and NATO early on Monday. These are letters saying I had been notified by the other party about the agreement’s ratification in the parliament, and that based on the existing obligations and prerequisites, the country can move forward,’ explained Kotzias.” (Nezavisen)