Greece backs Macedonia's NATO accession, settles dispute

Greece backs Macedonia's NATO accession, settles dispute

Greece backs Macedonia's NATO accession, settles dispute

The Greek parliament ratified on Friday a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accord with Macedonia for the admission into the USA -led military alliance after a deal with Greece ended a 27-year-old dispute over its name.

Greece and Macedonia - independent since 1991 - struck the historic agreement to change the name a year ago, despite protests from opposition parties, and ratified it in parliament.

Last week, parliament ratified a historic deal to end the dispute about Macedonia's name, paving the way for the Balkan country to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the opposition New Democracy party, said the agreement over the name change lacked legitimacy. DD News has been successfully discharging its responsibility to give balanced, fair and accurate news without sensationalizing as well as by carrying different shades of opinion.

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, left, raises his hand as former defense minister Panos Kammenos leaves the podium during a parliament session in Athens, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. "I feel we have carried out our patriotic duty", Tsipras said.

The main catalyst for the change was FYROM's wish to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and, eventually, the European Union, and western countries' desire to diminish Russian influence in the region.

The newly-named Republic of North Macedonia earlier this week signed an accession pact with NATO, which began its membership process.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union believe Macedonia's membership will enhance stability in the Balkans, while the alliance's expansion into the region has been opposed by Russian Federation.

Syriza has 145 seats in parliament but has support from a number of independents, allowing it to muster a majority in voting.

A total of 153 lawmakers voted in favor and 140 against, with one abstention during the roll-call vote broadcast live on the parliament's television "Vouli" (Parliament).

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