World|politics|January 12, 2019 / 02:12 PM
Macedonian parliament agrees to change country's name to end 27-year dispute with Greece
People protest against cof the country's name outside the parliament building in Skopje on Jan. 11, 2019. Boris Grdanoski / AP

AKIPRESS.COM - Macedonia's parliament passed on Friday an amendment to the constitution to rename the country Republic of North Macedonia, as agreed with Greece to put an end to a 27-year dispute, Reuters reports.

Eighty-one deputies in the 120-seat parliament voted in favor. Representatives of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE, who opposed the agreement with Greece, boycotted the vote.

The countries struck the deal on the new name in June, but Macedonia will start using it only after the parliament in Athens also ratifies the agreement.

Greece blocked its neighbor's aspirations to EU and NATO membership over the use of 'Macedonia', which it said implied territorial claims to a Greek province of the same name.

At the start of the parliamentary session, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told deputies the name change would "open the doors to the future, Macedonia's European future", and to joining the North Atlantic alliance.

Several hundred people have protested against the deal in front of parliament over the past three days

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