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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 23 October, 2014

ICJ rules Greece was wrong to block Macedonia’s NATO bid

A dispute has been running between the two countries over the use of the name ‘Macedonia’.

A general view of the Great Hall of Justice where the International Court of Justice delivered its ruling today.
A general view of the Great Hall of Justice where the International Court of Justice delivered its ruling today.
Image: AP Photo/Peter Dejong/PA Images

THE INTERNATIONAL Court of Justice has ruled that Greece was wrong to block Macedonia’s bid to become a NATO member three years ago during a long-running dispute between the two states over the name ‘Macedonia’.

Greece insists on calling Macedonia the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM, over fears it may one day join with Bulgaria and seek to control lands which are part of modern Greece.

Part of the wider region known as Macedonia in ancient times is now occupied by the state of Macedonia. Greece has its own province called Macedonia.

Today the ICJ ruled that Greece had breached a 1995 agreement not to block Macedonia’s application for membership to international organisations if it used the name FYROM.

Macedonia’s foreign minister welcomed the court’s decision today, saying it “precludes Greece from continuing its efforts to block my country from joining NATO and the EU”.

“Although this case was not about the name issue, the Republic of Macedonia remains strongly committed to finding a lasting, mutually acceptable solution to the difference with Greece over the name,” Minister Nikola Poposki added.

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