FYROM Leaders Spar over Name Deal on National Holiday

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev urged his people on Thursday — the 115th anniversary of a failed rebellion against Ottoman Turkey — to support the agreement with Greece in a September 30 referendum, an AP report says.

The agreement with Greece is that the Balkan country would be named “North Macedonia”, a name that the majority of Greeks and FYROM nationals oppose to. Greeks do not want the term “Macedonia” to be used at all, while FYROM citizens argue that their country be called simply “Macedonia”.

FYROM President Gjorge Ivanov is refusing to sign off on the deal, which FYROM lawmakers ratified last month. He claims that  the new name would “delete” the Balkan country’s 27-year history as an independent nation.

The deal would clear the way for FYROM to start membership talks with NATO and the European Union. Zaev says the opportunity shouldn’t be squandered.

The Balkan country’s national holiday turned into another row between the president and the prime minister over the name issue.

The “North Macedonia” name agreement between Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has not been tabled in Greek Parliament yet.