Skopje sees Greece-Macedonia accord as 'breakthrough' for Balkans

Foreign ministers of Greece Nikos Kotzias and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Protesters chant the Greek national anthem during a demonstration against the agreement reached by Greece and Macedonia to resolve a dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name, in Pisoderi village, northern Greece, June 17, 2018. Nimetz spent the last 24 years trying to mediate between Greece and Macedonia, first as an envoy of U.S. President Bill Clinton and then representing successive United Nations secretaries-generals.

But the decision is not universally supported. Several demonstrators complained of breathing problems.

"Some of the protesters used stun grenades and violently pushed the protective fence while trying to forcefully enter the parliament", the police said in a statement.

VMRO-DPMNE is against accepting erga omnes for the name, the use of the name not only internationally but also at home, which requires constitutional changes.

The definition of the country's language will remain "Macedonian", as Skopje insisted in the talks.

Barbarousis described the Greece-Macedonia deal as "treason" and called for the arrest of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and President Projopis Pavlopoulos in his speech. "Our countries are leaving the past behind and are looking to the future". "We are putting an end to the many years of differences which have hindered friendly relations between neighbours", Zoran Zaev said during the ceremony which took place in the village of Psarades, on the Greek side of the border between the two countries on Sunday.

Greece had argued Macedonia was attempting to make a claim on the northern Greek province of the same name by adopting the name after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini praised the "dedication, commitment, courage, leadership and hope that both prime ministers have put into this process", CNN reports.

The accord begins to unravel one of the world's longest - and arguably most arcane - diplomatic disputes, which began 27 years ago with Macedonia's declaration of independence but whose roots date back centuries.

Skopje hopes to secure a date to begin European Union accession talks at a bloc's summit in late June and an invitation to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in mid-July.

They include the still uncertain ratification of the deal by both parliaments and an even riskier referendum on the deal in Macedonia, which will put Zaev's government to the test.

Macedonia constitutes the north-western third of the larger geographical region of Macedonia, which also includes parts of Greece, Bulgaria and Albania.

Tsipras survived a no-confidence vote mounted by Greece's opposition in parliament on Saturday, but the depth of public emotion against the deal is strong.

Greeks had been protesting in Athens since Friday.

The signing ceremony was protected by a heavy police presence on both sides of the border as opponents of the agreement in both countries had announced protests.

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