Greek PM Alexis Tsipras survives no-confidence vote in parliament


Greece and Macedonia have signed a deal that aims to settle a decades-long dispute over Macedonia's name.

The two countries' leaders said the signing would be the start of closer relations between them and an example for all nations in the Balkans region.

ATHENS, June 16 - Greece's government survived on Saturday a no confidence motion tabled by main opposition party New Democracy over the historic Macedonia name deal reached earlier this week between Athens and Skopje which will be signed on Sunday at the Prespes lakes on the border between the two neighboring states.

He said: "This is a fearless, historic and necessary step for our peoples".

Also at the ceremony were UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Rosemary di Carlo, the UN mediator for the name dispute, Matthew Nimetz, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn.

One lawmaker from the government's junior coalition partner, the nationalist Independent Greeks, voted in favor of the move.

In the Greek village of Pisoderi, protesters carried a giant Greek flag and one group clashed with riot police on a mountain slope as they tried to break the cordon.

The foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia signed an accord to rename the former Yugoslav republic the "Republic of North Macedonia", despite a storm of protest over a deal seen as a national sellout by some on both sides.

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The ceremony took place in the border region of Lake Prespa, in the Greek village of Psarades, after which both delegations headed to the Macedonian side of the lake, to the village of Oteshevo, for a celebratory lunch.

Athens refused to accept it, saying it implied territorial claims over the Greek province of Macedonia and an appropriation of ancient Greek culture and civilisation.

- The country's official name will be "Republic of North Macedonia", or "North Macedonia" for short. He said that his country had learnt the important lesson that big decisions are made through decisive action and highly appreciated the help of the European Union and the UN.

In the Republic of Macedonia, Parliament should consider a bill of ratification within a week.

An elderly man in the audience nodded and smiled. Zaev has said he will put the deal to a referendum in the fall. He received warm applause, not only for his often-frustrated effort to make the name dispute a thing of the past, but because Sunday was his 79th birthday Sunday. If Ivanov refuses to sign off on the deal, it will be sent back to parliament for a second vote.

But to Macedonians, who have espoused this identity since the days of Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito, the notion of revising their name and constitution is anathema. The party is a vociferous critic of the name deal.

A Reuters witness saw protesters pelting police with stones, chanting "Macedonia, Macedonia we will give our lives for Macedonia".