North Macedonia signs installed on border with Greece

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Workers in the newly renamed North Macedonia have begun replacing road signs to reflect the change in their country's name, following a deal with neighboring Greece to end a almost three decade-long dispute and secure NATO membership. "And we step into the future as part of the Alliance's family". "I believe that all institutions are ready to act".

"May today be the beginning of a long friendship between Greece and North Macedonia", Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said in a tweet. Greece had said use of the name Macedonia implied a territorial claim on a northern Greek province of the same name.

At least 13 people were killed and more than 30 others injured when a passenger bus overturned on a highway in North Macedonia on Wednesday (Feb 13), the health minister said.

Although more than 130 countries formally had recognized the country as Macedonia, the United Nations and other worldwide bodies used the "Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia", the cumbersome moniker Greece and Macedonia settled on for an interim accord in 1995.

Workers remove a road sign that reads "Republic of Macedonia" in the southern border with Greece, near Gevgelija, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.

Skopje and Athens buried a 27-year dispute in agreeing in June last year to rename Macedonia as North Macedonia.

Despite opposition on either side of the border, the deal was ratified by both parliaments.

All plaques on offices must also be replaced within four months, while the Interior Ministry should start issuing new passports by the end of 2019.

The small Balkans country changed its name from Macedonia on Tuesday.

So, why would a country change its name?

While North Macedonia is not yet officially a NATO member - officials signed an accession agreement last week in order to pave the way towards membership - it is still permitted to sit at the NATO table as a guest.

Speaking at a ceremony in the capital of Skopje, Zaev said the country had achieved a "historic goal" in being accepted into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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