Greece backs Macedonias NATO bid, completing name deal

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The measure was accepted by a 153-140 vote.

FILE - Protesters hold a giant Greek national flag during a demonstration against the agreement reached by Greece and Macedonia to resolve a dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name, in front of the parliament building in Athens, Jan. 24, 2019.

The Greek parliament ratified on Friday a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accord with Macedonia for the admission into the US -led military alliance after a deal with Greece ended a 27-year-old dispute over its name.

Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because Greece has a northern province of the same name.

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North Macedonia is "a country that must be a supporter - and not an opponent - of our efforts to establish safety, stability, and cooperation in the wider region", he added.

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"Clearly it is in Greece's interest to promote a European course for all its neighbors, not just for North Macedonia - and not (back) the influence of third forces in the neighborhood, with different aspirations and pursuits", Tsipras said.

During the debate, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated the ND's decision not to ratify the protocol for the accession of the neighbouring country into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as he believes that it would be the "final act in a damaging agreement". Despite strong misgivings from opposition parties and public opinion, both ratified it in parliament.

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The row had frustrated Macedonian attempts to join the European Union and NATO: Greece is a member of both and has veto power over other countries joining. Provided lawmakers vote for the motion, Greece's foreign ministry will promptly notify the FYROM government of the result.

Macedonia will then write to the United Nations, its member states and worldwide organizations, formally announcing the name change.

A government spokesman told the AP this would happen "in coming days".

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