NEWS

FYROM prepares for name change

VASSILIS NEDOS

Workers clean up near the sign at the border between FYROM and Greece, near Gevgelija, Monday.

TAGS: Diplomacy, Politics

Authorities in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) began removing official signs from government buildings and streets in the capital Skopje early on Monday to replace them with new ones featuring the country’s new name, North Macedonia.

The removal of signs the contain the phrase “Government of the Republic of Macedonia” is part of the Prespes name agreement between Greece and FYROM last summer.

For its part, Greece was expected on Monday to send a note verbale to the government in Skopje officially informing it that it has completed the procedures to ratify the Prespes accord and its NATO accession protocol.

After the deal’s ratification by both counties and approval of the small Balkan country’s NATO accession by the Greek Parliament on Friday, North Macedonia is due to become a member of the transatlantic alliance.

A NATO flag is also scheduled to be raised on Tuesday on a government building.

FYROM will now publish the deal with Greece in its government gazette so that it is officially enshrined in law.

The next step stipulates that the governments of both countries must send a joint letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informing him of the name deal’s final ratification.

North Macedonia will then inform all international organizations that its name has changed.

In recognition of their efforts to resolve a dispute that lasted for more than 25 years, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his FYROM counterpart Zoran Zaev will receive the prestigious Ewald von Kleist Award, which honors outstanding contributions to peace and conflict resolution, on Friday in Munich.

Tsipras and Zaev will hold talks on the sidelines of the event.

Meanwhile, Moscow has reiterated its opposition to the Prespes accord as it will allow NATO to expand in the Balkans.

In an interview with Sputnik.gr, Russian Ambassador in Athens Andrey Maslov claimed that inducting yet another country to NATO “will definitely not boost stability in the Balkans.”

He also said the procedures to ratify the deal violated the laws of the Balkan country.

“The referendum for the name [in FYROM] failed,” he said, adding that the will of the majority of the people there was ignored.

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