UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

14 February 2019

The UN-brokered agreement between Athens and Skopje to formally recognize the “Republic of North Macedonia”, is a welcome, “historical” step that should be supported by regional and international Member States, António Guterres has announced.

In a statement following on from the entry into force of the Prespa Agreement between the two countries on Tuesday, the UN Secretary-General confirmed that he had received official notification of the development, which settles a near 30-year dispute between the two neighbours.

Mr. Guterres congratulated the two sides and Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras, of Greece, and Zoran Zaev, of North Macedonia,  “on their determination in creating a forward-looking vision for relations between the two countries and reconciliation in the Balkan region and beyond”.

He added that he was “deeply grateful” to the UN’s longest serving envoy Matthew Nimetz of the United States, for his “unwavering commitment and dedication” in pursuing the deal.

On Thursday afternoon,  the UN Protocol and Liaison Service announced the official switch over within the UN, from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to the new name of North Macedonia. The official long version of the name will be Republic of North Macedonia.

Secretary-General António Guterres on the Prespa agreement.

Name-change deal solves ‘seemingly intractable’ split

The Prespa Agreement was signed by both countries on 17 June last year and ratified by their parliaments last month. It demonstrates that “even seemingly intractable issues can be resolved through dialogue and political will”, Mr. Guterres insisted.

Negotiations on the name dispute began in 1993 and have been led by the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Mr. Nimetz since 1999.

 

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