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UN envoy hails Macedonia's ratification of name deal

The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) A U.N. envoy has congratulated Macedonia after its parliament approved a deal with Greece that will rename the country North Macedonia.

Matthew Nimetz said in a statement that the agreement, which remains to be ratified by Greece, paves the way for "a firmer basis for peace and security in the Balkans."

The agreement on changing the name comes after a 27-year dispute, with Greece complaining that the name Macedonia implies claims on Greece's own territory and cultural heritage.

Nimetz has been the U.N. Secretary-General's personal envoy on the naming dispute since 1999 and was also President Bill Clinton's special envoy as mediator on the same dispute from March 1994 to September 1995.

Macedonia approved the deal Friday, while Greece's parliament is expected to vote on it before March.

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