05.10.2022

Macedonia protests against renaming a country

At least 10 people were injured during the protests in the capital of Macedonia, another 11 were detained by police. Skopje residents marched against the renaming of the country. A massive protest rally was held in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, on Sunday, June 17. Demonstrators opposed the name Northern Republic of Macedonia, under which Greece pledged to recognize a neighboring state. During the protests, clashes with the police occurred.

According to media reports, at least 10 people turned to doctors for help, among them there were 7 police officers. At least 11 demonstrators were detained by law enforcement officers.

During the protests, the protesters demolished the enclosing grates near the parliament building and began to throw stones and firecrackers at the police. In turn, the police used tear gas and stun grenades against the demonstrators. “The city center looks like little Beirut,” said the Macedonian television channel 1TV, whose operator was injured during the protests.

Criticism of renaming in Macedonia and Greece

Earlier on June 17, Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zaev and the head of the Greek government Alexis Tsipras signed a preliminary agreement on the new name of Macedonia. The agreement will enter into force after it is approved by the parliaments of both countries. In addition, Macedonia will hold a referendum on the renaming.

However, the compromise name is criticized not only in Macedonia, but also in Greece. The Greek opposition party, New Democracy, demanded a vote of no confidence in the Tsipras government, but the parliament rejected the initiative by a slight margin during the vote.

The dispute about Macedonia began in 1991

The dispute over the name of the state of Macedonia arose in 1991 after the declaration of independence of this former Yugoslav republic. The reason for the conflict lies in the presence of the Macedonia region in Greece.

Athens fears that if the name “Macedonia” is assigned to the neighboring country, Skopje may present territorial claims to the Greek region. Because of this, the official name of Macedonia at the UN since 1993 is the phrase “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, and Greece blocks Skopje from joining the European Union and NATO.

The Government of Macedonia approved a bill on renaming the country

On Monday, June 18, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia approved a bill ratifying the agreement with Greece, which provides for a change in the name of the country (RM).

Such a decision was made in Skopje at the 74th regular session of the Cabinet of Ministers, the department’s website said.

The document is designed to “resolve the differences described in UN Security Council resolutions No. 817 (1991) and 845 (1993).”

The bill was put forward by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia.

Further, a draft law on ratification of the new name of the country will be submitted to the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia.

Athens and Skopje signed an agreement on the new name of Macedonia

In a preliminary agreement, Greece pledged to recognize a neighboring state called the Republic of Northern Macedonia. The document will come into force if approved by the parliaments of both countries. Athens and Skopje on Sunday, June 17, signed a preliminary agreement in which Greece pledged to recognize a neighboring state called the Republic of Northern Macedonia. The document was signed by the Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zaev and the head of the Greek government Alexis Tsipras.

The ceremony, which was held on the shores of Lake Prespa, was also attended by the foreign ministers of the two states, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn and UN representatives.

The agreement will enter into force after it is approved by the parliaments of both countries. In addition, Macedonia will hold a referendum on the renaming. The signing of the document will allow Greece and Macedonia to “enter together in an era of regional stability and prosperity,” Tsipras wrote on Twitter.

According to Zoran Zaev, the decision of the Greek side will preserve the ethnic and cultural identity of Macedonia.

Greece and Macedonia reached an agreement that would put an end to the long-standing dispute over the name of a small Balkan country. This was stated by Greek Prime Minister Tsipras.

“I have good news … As soon as we reached an agreement with the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on an issue that occupied our thoughts for many years.

We have an agreement, and I am happy because we have an agreement covering all the conditions established by the Greek side, ”said Tsipras.

Note, before that, the Greek prime minister had a conversation with his Macedonian counterpart Zoren Zaev.

The dispute began in 1991

The dispute over the name of the state of Macedonia arose in 1991 after the declaration of independence of this former Yugoslav republic. The reason for the conflict lies in the presence of the Macedonia region in Greece.

Athens fears that if the name “Macedonia” is assigned to the neighboring country, Skopje may present territorial claims to the Greek region. Because of this, the official name of Macedonia at the UN since 1993 is the phrase “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, and Greece blocks Skopje from joining the European Union and NATO.

Macedonian President rejects renaming agreement

The President of Macedonia, Gheorghe Ivanov, said he would not sign an agreement with Greece on renaming his country to Northern Macedonia.

Ivanov announced his position on Wednesday, June 13, noting that he did not intend to sign the agreement, since it violates the Constitution and laws of the country. In addition, Ivanov considers such a compromise with the Greek side to be nothing more than a “personal decision” by the Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zaev and the Foreign Minister of Macedonia, Nicola Dimitrova, for which they should bear “personal responsibility”.

On June 12, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that he had reached an agreement with Macedonia on the new name of this country, which would resolve a long-standing dispute between the two states.

According to this agreement reached between the Prime Ministers of Greece and Macedonia, the latter should be renamed the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

As reminds the AR, it is expected that the foreign ministers of the two countries will sign the agreement next weekend. After that, the parliament of Macedonia should approve it, and then the signature of the country’s president George Ivanov will be required.

At the same time, the Prime Minister of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, has already announced that in the fall of 2018, a referendum will be held in the country on the issue of renaming the state to Northern Macedonia.

In Macedonia, mass protests against the renaming of the country

Up to 50 thousand Macedonians protest in Skopje against the plans of the authorities to hold a referendum on changing the name of the country. This measure is connected with a long-standing dispute with Greece, where there is a region of the same name. In the center of the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, on the evening of Saturday, June 2, a rally of many thousands took place against the renaming of the country. The demonstration was organized by the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE.

According to local media, from 30 to 50 thousand people took part in the protests. Earlier this week, May 30, the Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zaev announced his intention to hold a referendum on the new name of the state. He added that in a long-standing dispute with neighboring Greece on naming Macedonia, a “principal agreement” was reached. Among the options for the new name, the following options appear: Ilindenskaya Macedonia, Gorna (Upper) Macedonia, Severna (Northern) Macedonia, Macedonia-Skopje.

The dispute over the naming of Macedonia arose in 1991 after the declaration of independence of this former Yugoslav republic. The reason for the conflict lies in the fact that Greece has a region of Macedonia, which occupies a quarter of the area of ​​this state. Athens fears that if the name Macedonia is assigned to the neighboring country, Skopje may present territorial claims to the Greek region. Because of its Greek position, the official name of Macedonia in the UN since 1993 is “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” and Greece is blocking its accession to the European Union and NATO, AFP notes.

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