Greek parliament ratifies NATO accord with Republic of North Macedonia

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By Euronews  with Reuters
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras votes during a parliamentary session on
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras votes during a parliamentary session on   -  Copyright  REUTERS/Costas Baltas

Greece's parliament on Friday ratified a NATO accord with the Republic of North Macedonia, paving the way for Skopje's entry to the US-led military alliance.

The newly-named Republic of North Macedonia earlier this week signed an accession pact with NATO, which began its membership process.

Greece had previously used its veto rights to block Skopje's attempts to join the alliance because of a long-running dispute between the neighbouring countries.

READ MORE: The Republic of North Macedonia inches closer to joining NATO, but how does a country get invited?

The row centred around concerns that Skopje would make territorial claims to a neighbouring region in northern Greece, which Athens says has used the name Macedonia since the times of Alexander the Great.

Greece's approval, by a slim majority, came after the two countries settled the dispute by agreeing to change the country's name from the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" to the "Republic of North Macedonia".

READ MORE: Greece and FYR Macedonia name dispute: the controversial feud explained

"I feel we did our patriotic duty. We did what is right," Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras told parliament.

After signing the accord with this week, North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said the resolution had "proven that we can assume our responsibility, face a problem, and resolve those problems."