Skopje notifies UN of name change

People at work to change boards at the border between Macedonia and Greece near Gevgelija on February 13, 2019. — AFP pic
People at work to change boards at the border between Macedonia and Greece near Gevgelija on February 13, 2019. — AFP pic

SKOPJE, Feb 13 — The Macedonian government said today it had officially informed the United Nations of the country’s new name following its historic agreement with neighbouring Greece.

Skopje and Athens buried a 27-year dispute in agreeing in June last year to rename Macedonia as North Macedonia.

The new name came into force yesterday after constitutional changes were published in the Official Gazette and Skopje’s foreign ministry said both countries had informed the UN by letter that the change is now in force.

Skopje is already using the new full name — Republic of North Macedonia — on its official website and Twitter page while the authorities were due later today to change border signs.

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

The issue has held up Macedonia’s attempts to join Nato and the European Union.

Overcoming opposition of hardline nationalists in both countries, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras managed to strike a deal which both parliaments ratified last month. — AFP