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Macedonia officially changes name to North Macedonia

14 February 2019

The UN announcement came after Skopje on February 12 said the country was officially renamed the Republic of North Macedonia under a landmark agreement to normalize relations with Greece that also allows North Macedonia to enter NATO.

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.

Skopje is already using the new full name - Republic of North Macedonia - on its official website and Twitter page while the authorities were due later Wednesday to change border signs.

Police officers and investigators are silhouetted at the crash site at village of Laskarci west of Skopje North Macedonia Wednesday Feb. 13 2019. Macedonia's health minister says some have died and many are injured in the bus crash carrying wor
Macedonia officially changes name to North Macedonia

Athens had long argued that its small, landlocked neighbor's name implied claims on the northern Greek province of Macedonia, and on ancient Greek cultural heritage.

"May today be the beginning of a long friendship between Greece and North Macedonia", Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said in a tweet.

Workers set up a sign with Macedonia's new name at the border between Macedonia and Greece, near Gevgelija, Macedonia February 13, 2019. "We can't change our past, but we can and we will shape our future of friendship, partnership and cooperation".

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Three other former Yugoslav republics - Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro - have become North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members, joining other states in the region including Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania.

Imagine if the country where you lived changed its name.

Within four months, the Interior Ministry will start issuing new auto license plates with the abbreviation NMK, while new passports will be issued at the end of this year, Zernovski said.

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The name change resolves a dispute with Greece dating back to the country's 1991 independence from Yugoslavia.

Just last Wednesday, NATO members signed the accession protocol alongside North Macedonia to launch its path to membership.

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.

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Macedonia officially changes name to North Macedonia