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Greek Parliament Ratifies Protocol on Northern Macedonia's Accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
10 February 2019, 09:40 | Devin Moran
Macedonia’s prime minister Zoran Zaev More
"I feel we have carried out our patriotic duty", Tsipras said.
Greek lawmakers on Friday approved Macedonia's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession bid, putting the final touches on a historic deal to end a 27-year name row between the two countries.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members signed an accord with Macedonia on Wednesday, allowing the republic to become the 30th member of the USA -led alliance, after a deal with Greece ended a 27-year-old dispute over its name.
"I would like to again welcome North Macedonia, a country that is friendly toward Greece, a country that must be a supporter, and not an opponent, of our efforts to establish safety, stability, and cooperation in the wider region", Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament shortly before the vote.
Greece had previously used its veto rights to block Skopje's attempts to join the alliance because of a long-running dispute between the neighbouring countries. Moscow had taken a dim view of the name accord, and of Macedonian membership in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Greek opposition parties said the agreement made too many concessions to Macedonia.
One lawmaker described the pact as "worth spitting at", another that Greece was "humiliated". This referred to the resignation of a junior partner from the governing coalition in January over the accord, which left the governing Syriza party short of an absolute majority in parliament.
Greek lawmakers are set to approve Macedonia's NATO accession, ending a process to normalize relations between the two neighbors and anchor the country - renamed North Macedonia - firmly within the western sphere of influence.
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