World

Greece Ratifies North Macedonia's NATO Protocol

Greece Ratifies North Macedonia's NATO Protocol

"Once again I would like to welcome from this floor North Macedonia, a friendly country for Greece who should be an ally and not against our efforts to boost security, stability and cooperation in the wider region", Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said addressing the plenary shortly before the vote.

The 153-140 vote in favor of the former Yugoslav republic's NATO membership came after the country agreed previous year to change its name to North Macedonia and following ratification of the deal by the countries' parliaments.

"We will all be judged by people and history".

Opposition parliamentarians argued that Greece had given too many concessions to soon-to-be North Macedonia, including a vow not to oppose its proposed NATO membership. "I feel we have carried out our patriotic duty", Tsipras added. "We did what is right", Tsipras told parliament during a debate on Friday.

The Greek Parliament has approved a measure for North Macedonia to join NATO, ending a decades-old dispute.




Greece and the former Yugoslav republic - independent since 1991 - struck the historic agreement last summer, despite protests from opposition parties, and ratified it in parliament. Moscow had taken a dim view of the name accord, and of Macedonian membership in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The ratification by the Greek MPs of the protocol signed by permanent representatives of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states earlier this week at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, opens the way for Greece's northern neighbour to start using its new name.

NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg presided over Wednesday's ceremony a NATO's headquarters, where Macedonia was invited to join the pact.

A majority of 153 lawmakers supported the legislation, while 140 voted against.

Most Greeks were against any agreement that used the term "Macedonia" in the new name, due to the province in northern Greece called Macedonia, which is the birthplace of Alexander the Great.


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