Greek Parliament Ratifies Protocol on Northern Macedonia's Accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks during a parliament session in Athens Friday Feb. 8 2019. Greek lawmakers are set Friday to approve Macedonia’s NATO accession ending a process to normalize relations between the two neighbors and anch

With the completion of the ratification process of the NATO accession protocol by all 29 NATO member states, the Republic of Macedonia, which has been recently renamed to the Republic of Northern Macedonia, will become a fully-fledged member of NATO with the right to vote on all decisions of the Alliance.

The Greek Parliament ratified by a narrow margin on Friday the protocol on Northern Macedonia's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, according to the results of the vote.

Under NATO alliance rules, Macedonian membership now has to be approved by each member state, giving Greek lawmakers the opportunity for another round of verbal jousting over the controversy. "I feel we have carried out our patriotic duty", Tsipras said.

Greece's objections to Skopje's use of the name "Macedonia" since the country's independence in 1991 complicated bids by the small Western Balkan state to join the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

It also exposed old rivalries with Russian Federation, in a region where Moscow competes for influence with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU. Greek opposition parties said the agreement made too many concessions to Macedonia.

Greek opposition New Democracy party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during a parliament session in Athens Friday Feb. 8 2019. Greek lawmakers are set Friday to approve Macedonia’s NATO accession ending a process to normalize relations between the
Greece’s Parliament backs Nato admission for Macedonia

"I'd like to welcome North Macedonia, a country friendly to Greece, a country that must be an ally in efforts to establish security, stability and peace in the region".

One lawmaker described the pact as "worth spitting at", another that Greece was "humiliated".

Tsipras also rejected calls by the leader of New Democracy to hold early elections, telling Kyriakos Mitsotakis that his party's expectations will be refuted.

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

The former Yugoslav republic will now be able to formally change its name to North Macedonia, a longtime source of tension with Greece, which saw the name as a threat to its own region of Macedonia.

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