United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has confirmed receipt of official notice from Skopje and Athens of the change of the former Yugoslav republic’s name to Republic of North Macedonia, and welcomed the entry into effect of the Prespa Agreement as a welcome, “historical” step that should be supported by regional and international UN member states.
In a statement following on from the entry into force of the Prespa Agreement between the two countries, 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”.
Guterres said 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, the UN News Service said.
On the afternoon of February 14, 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.
The Prespa Agreement was signed by both countries on June 17 2018 and ratified by their parliaments last month. It demonstrates that “even seemingly intractable issues can be resolved through dialogue and political will,” Guterres said.
Negotiations on the name dispute began in 1993 and have been led by the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Nimetz since 1999.
(Photo of Guterres/UN Photo – Erskine Debebe)