United Nations, Feb 14 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the settlement of a dispute between Greece and Macedonia over the constitutional name of the latter.
Guterres on Tuesday received official notification of the entry into force of the Prespa Agreement, which, among other things, expresses the agreement by the parties to the name "Republic of North Macedonia," said Guterres's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, in a statement on Wednesday.
"He (Guterres) welcomes this development, which settles the long-standing dispute between Athens and Skopje and demonstrates that even seemingly intractable issues can be resolved through dialogue and political will," said the statement.
The UN chief congratulated the two countries and Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Zoran Zaev of Macedonia on their determination in creating a forward-looking vision for relations between their two countries and reconciliation in the Balkan region and beyond, it said. Guterres was deeply grateful to his personal envoy, Matthew Nimetz, for his unwavering commitment and dedication in facilitating the negotiations, said the statement.
The UN chief called on member states, regional organizations and all international partners to support the historical steps that the parties have taken, it said. Greece and Macedonia have been in dispute since 1991, when the former Yugoslav republic gained independence. Greece has objected to its neighbor's constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia, fearing that the name indicates territorial ambitions over the northern Greek province of Macedonia. Greece's objection has impeded Skopje's bids to join NATO and the European Union.
Under the UN-brokered Prespa Agreement in June 2018, Macedonia's constitutional name would become "the Republic of North Macedonia." The parliaments of the two countries have since ratified the agreement. (UNI-XINHUA)