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COURSE TOPIC THE HINDU EDITORIALTIMES 24 JUNE - 2018
TITLE ALL INTHE NAME
HEADLINE Greece and the Republic of North Macedonia finally end a long-standing dispute
ALL INTHE NAME Skopje has resolved a festering dispute with Athens over the name of the Balkan nation that emerged following the disintegration of Yugoslavia. The landmark agreement signed with Greece this month, to rechristen Macedonia as the Republic of North Macedonia, opens the doors for its admission, long vetoed by Greece, to the principal Western economic and security blocs. The two governments have locked horns on the issue for nearly 30 years, ever since the independent Slav state proclaimed itself the Republic of Macedonia in 199
ALL IN THE NAME Greece refused to accept this, as one of its own provinces goes by that evocative name. More than 100 countries in the United Nations-including the United States, Russia and Chinahave recognised the country's official name. But Greece has so far insisted on referring to its northern neighbour as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), as per a UN-negotiated interim arrangement. According to the agreement signed this month, the Republic of North Macedonia will be the name used in Skopje's dealings with other countries too. 8 2
ALL IN THE NAME Many attempts to break the deadlock had failed earlier, including a Macedonian offer to change its name in exchange for handsome financial aid and investment. It did not help that Greek apprehensions were heightened when the port city of Thessaloniki, the capital of Greek Macedonia, was depicted on the maps of the new republic. Matters also heated up with the erection of a grand statue closely resembling Alexander the Great in the central district of Skopje, as Greeks resist any signal that the Slav republic may be laying claim to their ancient civilisation.
ALL INTHE NAME A more diplomatically ticklish issue was Greece's insistence on a constitutional amendment to clarify that Skopje had no territorial right over the Greek region. Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev held that such changes were in the realm of domestic law, and that in any case these can always be reversed by a future government. Among the concessions the Macedonian government has made in recent months is to change the name of the Alexander the Great airport to Skopje International. It has also renamed a motorway named after Alexander.
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