AP NEWS

Greece to ratify Macedonia’s NATO membership this week

February 5, 2019
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev addresses the media during a joint press conference with Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the federal chancellery in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece is set to ratify Macedonia’s accession agreement with NATO this week after the two countries reached a historic agreement to normalize relations.

The alliance’s 29 members plan Wednesday to sign Macedonia’s accession protocol, which must then be ratified by each country individually before taking effect.

In Athens, Greek parliamentary Speaker Nikos Voutsis said a ratification bill would be submitted Thursday and voted on Friday.

Left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ government in Greece was threatened with collapse over the agreement that will see the country’s neighbor change its name to North Macedonia before the NATO accession is finalized.

Greece blocked Macedonia’s NATO membership for a decade over a name dispute. Athens sees the former Yugoslav republic’s name as a threat to its own administrative region of Macedonia.