Macedonia's partners urge it to move forward on name change

Young journalists club

News ID: 29493
Publish Date: 12:33 - 01 October 2018
TEHRAN, October 01 - Macedonia's international partners are urging it to move forward with procedures necessary to change the Balkan country's name and pave the way for it to join the European Union and NATO.

Macedonia's partners urge it to move forward on name changeTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The support came after an overwhelming majority of voters in a referendum Sunday supported changing the tiny republic's name to North Macedonia. Turnout, though, was far lower than expected. Opponents to the name change had called for a boycott of the vote.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn tweeted that he expects "all political leaders to respect this decision and take it forward with utmost responsibility and unity across party lines."

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted: "I urge all political leaders & parties to engage constructively and responsibly to seize this historic opportunity."

He said NATO's door is still open to Macedonia "but all national procedures have to be completed."

The United States also offered its support for moving forward with the process.

"We urge leaders to rise above partisan politics and seize this historic opportunity to secure a brighter future for the country as a full participant in Western institutions," said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev had hoped for a strong show of support in the referendum. It would have helped him win parliamentary support for the required constitutional amendments to move forward.

But turnout stood at just over a third of those who voted, far short of the massive support he wanted.

Source: AP

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