After holding up its admission for years, Greece became the first nation Friday to ratify North Macedonia’s membership of NATO after the two states resolved a decades-old name dispute last month.
NATO members signed the accord with North Macedonia this week, days after the Greek parliament endorsed an agreement between Athens and Skopje that changes FYR Macedonia’s name to North Macedonia.
Staring down strong domestic opposition from Greeks worried the Balkan neighbor was appropriating Greek heritage, the government of leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pushed the name change through parliament on Jan. 25.
Under NATO alliance rules, North Macedonian membership now has to be approved by each member state, giving Greek lawmakers the opportunity for another round of verbal jousting over the controversy.
“I feel we did our patriotic duty. We did what is right,” Tsipras told parliament during a heated debate Friday.
The dispute had frustrated North Macedonian attempts to join the…
On This Day
- 1998: Glafkos Clerides was re-elected President of Cyprus.
- 1999: Kurdish rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan, left the Greek Embassy in Kenya and was arrested by Kenyan officials who handed him over to the Turks. The event sparked reactions in Greece that led to the resignation of three government ministers.
- Births: Dimitrios Vikelas, author, first President of the International Olympic Committee (1835), Andreas Papandreou, politician (1919)
- Deaths: Theodoros Kolokotronis, general in the Greek War of Independence (1843), Lysimachus Kaftantzoglou, architect (1932)