Greece has been insisting that use of the name "Macedonia" implies a territorial claim to Greece's own northern province of Macedonia, and a claim to Greece's ancient heritage.
Greek Prime Minister Tsipras said in a televised statement on Tuesday that Macedonia's name change to "Republic of North Mecedonia" would be reflected both domestically and overseas. Tsipras and Zaev spoke on the phone yesterday for an hour, and said they would continue their conversation today.
"Macedonia will be called the Republic of Northern Macedonia [Severna Makedonija]", Zoran Zaev, the country's prime minister, announced Tuesday.
Skopje and Athens announced they can resolve their long and bitter dispute by agreeing on the composite name "Republic of North Macedonia" for Macedonia - a deal expected to unlock Skopje's European Union and NATO bids.
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev reiterated during a press conference his pledge to hold a referendum on the new name in the fall.
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The dispute has poisoned relations between the two neighbors since Macedonia's independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
Greece will then back invitations for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and start negotiations on joining the European Union.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives for the swearing-in ceremony of his government at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece, September 23, 2015.
After splitting from the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia was admitted into the United Nations in 1993 as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
But Macedonia feared that a name change could have a negative impact on the national identity of its people, the majority of whom simply call themselves "Macedonians". There were also rallies in Macedonia in spring, demanding the country's name to be left in place.
On the timeline of the deal, Tsipras said that it would be first signed by the two countries' foreign ministers and then ratified by Macedonia's parliament.