Psarades, Greece | June 17
The foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia endorsed an agreement to resolve a long fight over the Macedonia name Sunday during a signing ceremony filled with history and symbolism.
The Greek village of Psarades, located on the shores of Great Prespa Lake, was picked for the occasion since the borders of Greece and Macedonia meet in the water.
The two countries’ prime ministers, Greece’s Alexis Tsipras and Macedonia’s Zoran Zaev, were there to see the deal they reached Tuesday get signed by their foreign ministers, Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Dimitrov, respectively.
Macedonians Zaev and Dimitrov arrived from across the lake on a small speedboat. Their Greek counterparts welcomed them with hugs on a jetty that was enlarged for the event.
Under the agreement, Greece’s northern neighbor will be renamed North Macedonia to address longstanding appropriation concerns in Greece, which has a Macedonia province that was the birthplace of Alexander the Great.
Greece in return will suspend the objections that prevented Macedonia from joining NATO and the European Union.
The two countries’ leaders said the signing would be the start of closer relations between them and an example for all nations in the Balkans region.
Recalling his first meeting with Zaev this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tsipras told him, “Very few believed we would succeed” in ending “26 years of sterile dispute between our countries.”