FYROM leaders spar over name deal on national holiday

FYROM leaders spar over name deal on national holiday

A national holiday in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia hasn't given the prime minister and president a day off from disagreeing about a deal to rename the country North Macedonia.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev urged his countrymen on Thursday – the 115th anniversary of a failed rebellion against Ottoman Turkey – to support the agreement with Greece in a Sept. 30 referendum.

The deal would clear the way for FYROM to start membership talks with NATO and the European Union. Zaev says the opportunity shouldn't be squandered.

President Gjorge Ivanov is refusing to sign off on the deal, which FYROM lawmakers ratified last month.

Ivanov says it would “delete” the Balkan country’s 27-year history as an independent nation.

Greece has long objected to its northern neighbor being called Macedonia, the name of one of its provinces. [AP]

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