UN chief urges Macedonia to proceed with name change

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to proceed with the name change it has agreed on with Greece.

Greece’s objection to its neighbour’s use of “Republic of Macedonia” as its official name has stalled the former Yugoslav republic’s ambition for membership in the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Xinhua reported.

The two countries reached an agreement in June 2018 that Macedonia would use the name of “Republic of North Macedonia”.

The name change received overwhelming support in Sunday’s referendum in Macedonia. But the low voter turnout of about one third undermined its credibility.

“The secretary-general takes note of the outcome of the consultative referendum in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The fact that an overwhelming majority of those voting supported the Prespa Agreement is important,” Guterres’ deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.

“The secretary-general urges all political forces in the country to proceed with implementation through the country’s institutions.”

The secretary-general reiterated the commitment of the UN to provide all necessary support, if required, said the statement.