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Zaev tells FT he and Tsipras had feared political impact of Prespes deal

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The prime minister of the newly named North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, has told the Financial Times that his country's accession to NATO is a "great honor" and described the fears that he and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras had had before signing the Prespes deal. 

Asked by the newspaper about criticism by some of his fellow citizens that he conceded too much in the Prespes name deal, Zaev said that both he and Tsipras had feared that the agreement would provoke their political demise.

He noted, however, that support for the deal was growing and that citizens follow leaders who take "difficult decisions."

When the deal was being signed, support for it in his country stood at just 17 percent of the population, he said, noting that that the figure had since risen to 60 percent. 

As for Russia's concerns about the expansion of the alliance, Zaev said he did not expect any problems, adding that he actually looked forward to greater cooperation with Moscow.