Greek PM visits N Macedonia in afterglow of name deal

Greek PM visits N Macedonia in afterglow of name deal

SKOPJE- Agence France-Presse
Greek PM visits N Macedonia in afterglow of name deal

Greece's prime minister landed in Skopje on April 2 for a landmark visit to the newly renamed North Macedonia after a decades-long identity row between the two countries.

The one-day trip comes a month after Alexis Tsipras and his Skopje counterpart Zoran Zaev finalized the deal that added "North" to Macedonia's name to distinguish it from a bordering province in Greece.

It is the first official visit by a Greek prime minister since the former Yugoslav republic declared independence in 1991, kicking off the name row that roiled diplomatic ties for nearly three decades as the neighbors tussled for ownership of the name Macedonia and its cultural heritage.

In the end, Skopje agreed to the change in exchange for assurance that Athens would stop thwarting its efforts to join NATO and the European Union.

"The first prime minister of Greece to visit North Macedonia. A truly historic day," Zaev wrote on Twitter beneath a photo of the two leaders embracing outside the government building, where they took a selfie before entering inside.

With the name issue behind them, the neighbors are also touting the promise of boosting economic ties.

Tsipras is joined by 10 ministers and more than two dozen Greek business leaders with him.

Since the initial name accord was inked in June 2018, congratulations have poured in from around the globe for the two young premiers, who took on risky political battles at home to push the deal through, enraging nationalists in both countries.

Greece, Macedonia , name deal, Tsipras