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Merkel seeks to close Macedonian naming deal

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Merkel seeks to close Macedonian naming deal
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Angela Merkel was vilified by many in Greece as the European leader who forced unwanted austerity policies on the country.

But it’s in a more welcoming political environment that the German chancellor will today conclude a two day visit to Athens. One of Merkel’s goals is to see a successful conclusion to the long-standing dispute over the name of Greece’s neighbour, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

She is supporting the initiative to call the country North Macedonia.

At a joint press conference with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Merkel said: “I am grateful to Alexis Tsipras who took the initiative to find a solution along with Zoran Zaev regarding a very difficult issue, that of the name dispute with the neighbouring country. I am convinced that the solution will benefit Greece, North Macedonia, the stability in western Balkans and European Union.”

Tsipras said: "The Prespes Agreement is a very significant step forward for the stability, security and development of the region. I believe it is a model agreement for other disputes, which shows that mutually acceptable solutions - without one side imposing something on the other - are possible.”