US backs Macedonia-Greece name deal

President Donald Trump defines agreement as 'historic'

US backs Macedonia-Greece name deal

U.S. President Donald Trump has supported the deal between Macedonia and Greece on the long-standing name dispute between the two countries.

"The historic Prespa Agreement resolves the long-standing name issue with Greece and paves the way for Macedonia’s membership in both NATO and the European Union," Trump said in a message to his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov on the occasion of country's independence day.

Macedonia set Sept. 30 to hold a landmark referendum on a deal with Greece to resolve the name dispute.

On June 17, Greece and its northern neighbor signed a historic accord on renaming Macedonia, ending a longstanding dispute between the two countries.

The deal proposes changing Macedonia's name to the Republic of North Macedonia and will enable Greece to lift its veto on Macedonia's EU and NATO accession.

"The Agreement and Macedonia’s membership in NATO will bolster security, stability, and prosperity throughout the entire region," Trump said.

He added Washington is ready to support Macedonia, especially with respect to upcoming discussions on the membership in NATO.

Greece, both a NATO and EU member, has long opposed Macedonia’s official name, as it has a region by the same name in the north of its country.

Due to Athens’ veto, the dispute has been one of the main obstacles to Macedonia’s ambitions to join NATO and the EU.

Negotiations between Macedonia and Greece had recently stepped up, as the new government in Skopje sought progress in its bid to join NATO and the EU.

Despite the dispute between Athens and Skopje, many countries, including Turkey, recognize the country as Macedonia.