UK congratulates Greece and N. Macedonia over end of name dispute

UK congratulates Greece and N. Macedonia over end of name dispute

The UK Government has congratulated Athens and Skopje on achieving the implementation of the Prespa Agreement, which has renamed the former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia to ‘Republic of North Macedonia’.

Following ratification of the Prespa Agreement, the Secretary General of the United Nations has been informed by the governments of the two countries that it is now effective.

The Foreign Office confirmed that the UK Government has received a request from the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia to adopt and use the name and terminologies referred to in Article 1 (3) of the Prespa Agreement.

“The UK Government will henceforth refer to Macedonia as the Republic of North Macedonia,” the Foreign Office said in a statement, speaking of a “historic” agreement.

In his statement Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Both sides have now taken the necessary steps to make the Prespa Agreement effective. Her Majesty’s Government congratulates the Governments of the Hellenic Republic and Republic of North Macedonia on their courage and determination in ending this long-standing bilateral dispute.

“This is an historic moment for both countries. We look forward to working with North Macedonia and Greece both bilaterally and through the North Atlantic Alliance in the interests of European security.”

The British Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan had the opportunity to personally congratulate the two countries’ leaders, Prime Ministers Zaev and Tsipras while attending the Munich Security Conference. He also referred to the agreement as “historic”.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Financial Times hours after signing his country’s NATO accession protocol, North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev pointedly said that he did not consider his country an enemy of anyone.

It was a response to a question about Russia’s concerns over North Macedonia’s accession to NATO. The UK had been following closely and strongly encouraging the country’s western direction of travel exactly because of worries about Moscow’s increased influence in the western Balkans./IBNA