US official urges Macedonians to take part in new name vote
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — A U.S. State Department official has urged Macedonians to participate in a September referendum on a deal meant to settle a festering name dispute with neighboring Greece.
Visiting Macedonia on Wednesday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer voiced support for the deal struck in June, and for Macedonia’s bids for NATO and European Union membership.
Macedonians will vote in a Sept. 30 referendum on the agreement, which would change their country’s name to “North Macedonia.”
Palmer, who met with senior officials in Skopje, said he hopes Macedonians will “turn out and vote.”
Macedonia and Greece have been at odds for almost three decades over the smaller country’s use of the name Macedonia, which Greece says implies territorial claims on its own province of the same name.