Macedonia took a major step towards full NATO membership on Wednesday, when NATO state ministers in Brussels signed its accession protocol- enabling it to become the club's 30th member under its new name, Republic of North Macedonia.
"But soon the Greek people and history and mostly the next generations will judge us", he told lawmakers during a tense debate in Parliament over the ratification of a protocol allowing FYROM to join NATO under the name "North Macedonia".
Macedonias renaming to "The Republic of North Macedonia" was the name issue between Greece and Macedonia, that had kept the Balkan country from joining both the NATO and the European Union (EU), reports Al Jazeera.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the opposition New Democracy party, said the agreement over the name change lacked legitimacy.
"Today's vote closes the most important round of obligations involving Greece", Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was quoted as saying before the vote in the Parliament. "I feel we have carried out our patriotic duty", Tsipras said.
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Once all Nato member states have ratified the accession protocol, the Republic of North Macedonia will be a member of the Alliance.
Many in the West hope the change will also limit the influence of Russian Federation, which has at times tried to exert influence on the soon to be North Macedonia.
Athens asserted that the use of the name Macedonia suggested Skopje had territorial claims to Greece's northern region of Macedonia. It says the alliance is undermining security in the region by taking in Balkan members.
"This is the final act of a nationally damaging deed", he said.
Lawmakers late February 8 voted 153-140 to ratify the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession protocol for neighboring Macedonia that must now also be approved by all other alliance members.