The Latest: Greece backs Macedonia’s NATO accession
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on Greece-Macedonia relations (all times local):
Greece’s parliament has approved a measure for Macedonia to join NATO, ending a decades-old dispute.
Lawmakers late Friday voted 153-140 to back the NATO protocol that must now also be approved by all other alliance members.
The Greek vote means the former Yugoslav republic will now formally change its name to North Macedonia, settling a dispute of the country’s name which Greece’s saw as a potential threat to its own northern region of Macedonia. Greek opposition parties said the agreement made too many concessions to Macedonia.
Greek lawmakers are set to approve Macedonia’s NATO accession, ending a process to normalize relations between the two neighbors and anchor the country — renamed North Macedonia — firmly within the western sphere of influence.
Greek opposition parties reject the move, arguing that the name deal, which will end a 27-year dispute, concedes too much to Macedonia. But the left-led government in Athens controls enough seats in parliament to win the vote, expected late Friday.
Greece and the former Yugoslav province — independent since 1991 — struck the historic agreement last summer. Despite strong misgivings from opposition parties and public opinion, both ratified it in parliament.
Greek approval of Macedonia’s NATO accession bid is the final step in the deal. Macedonia will then formally implement the name change.