Wed, 24 Apr 2019

Greek lawmakers are expected to vote on a historic agreement to change the name of neighboring Macedonia and end a decades-old diplomatic dispute.

The governments of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart, Zoran Zaev, struck the deal in June to change the former Yugoslav republic's name to the Republic of North Macedonia.

Under the agreement, Greece will renounce its objections to Macedonia joining NATO in return for the country renaming itself -- a long-standing demand of Greece, which argues use of the current name implies territorial ambitions on its own northern province of the same name.

The debate began on January 23 and is to conclude with a vote on the deal known as the Prespa agreement.

Opponents of the agreement plan to protest outside parliament in Athens on January 24 to defend the 'Greekness' of Macedonia.

A protest by tens of thousands of people in Athens on January 20 turned violent.

The deal reached the Greek parliament after Macedonia's parliament backed a constitutional amendment to change the country's name 10 days ago.

Those who oppose the deal in Macedonia have called the deal 'the greatest national treachery.'

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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