A US State Department official has urged the people of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to participate in a September referendum on a deal meant to settle a festering name dispute with neighboring Greece.
Visiting FYROM on Wednesday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer voiced support for the deal struck in June, and for FYROM’s bids for NATO and European Union membership.
The country will vote in a Sept. 30 referendum on the agreement, which would change their country’s name to "North Macedonia."
Palmer, who met with senior officials in Skopje, said he hopes the people of FYROM will "turn out and vote."
FYROM and Greece have been at odds for almost three decades over the smaller country’s use of the name "Macedonia," which Greece says implies territorial claims on its own province of the same name. [AP]