ANEL to oppose both name deal and censure motion, spokesperson says

President rejects renaming Macedonia amid protests

Protest in Skopje against name deal; president won't sign it - English - on

The two prime ministers' efforts to forge an agreement faces strong dissent, with opponents staging protests on both sides of the border. Earlier this week, following 27 years of tense UN-led negotiations, the countries made an important step towards resolving their dispute over Macedonia's name.

The deal is expected to be signed by the two countries' foreign ministers this weekend.

In Macedonia, the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party called the deal a "capitulation" and President Gjorge Ivanov said he would refuse to sign the text. He would then have to sign off on the agreement if it passed. In Macedonia, Zaev has said he will put the deal to a referendum in the fall.

A statement Wednesday from Kosovo's foreign ministry hailed the "historic agreement", which showed that "when there is resolve, readiness and leadership through diplomacy, dialogue and bilateral respect, the most hard issues can be solved". The language remains Macedonian and that makes me happy.

"We have been solving a two-and-a-half decade dispute. that has been drowning the country", he said, adding that the deal "will strengthen the Macedonian identity". However, Tsipras said, this will be contingent on Macedonia completing the constitutional changes.

Opponents in Greece object to any use of the term "Macedonia" in their northern neighbor's name, fearing territorial claims and seeing the use of the name as a usurping of Greece's ancient heritage.

Kurz said "this definitely ensures that it will now be possible to push ahead with Macedonia's accession process".

"This agreement sets an example for others on how to consolidate peace and stability across the region".

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Borut Pahor said Wednesday that he views the agreement for Macedonia's new name, Republic of Northern Macedonia, as a "major signal encouraging resolution of bilateral and multilateral issues in the Western Balkans".

Bulgaria, the current holder of the EU's rotating six-month presidency, also said the deal paved the way for accession talks.

Tensions stemming from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1990s' have persisted in the Balkans despite global efforts at reconciliation.

The move was broadly welcomed by senior European Union officials and MEPs.

A lot. The naming dispute has divided Greece, with demonstrators taking to the streets chanting "Macedonia is Greek" in Athens and Thessaloniki, capital of the region of Central Macedonia as recently as last week. A breakthrough was reached after a change of government in Macedonia, with Zaev taking over past year following a decade of rule by conservative Nikola Gruevski.

A historic deal ending a decades-long dispute between neighbors Greece and Macedonia over the latter's name met with mixed reactions in both countries Wednesday, with some welcoming the agreement and others horrified at what they see as unacceptable concessions.

Greece's Alexis Tsipras and Macedonia's Zoran Zaev said the former Yugoslav republic's new name for both domestic and worldwide purposes would be Republic of North Macedonia.

It used that veto to block the Republic of Macedonia's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 2008 and later halted the start of negotiations to join the European Union, pending resolution of the name dispute.

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