Greece hosts Balkan talks amid Macedonia name deal protests

July 4, 2018
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, left, shows the way to his Romanian counterpart Viorica Dancila, during a meeting of the heads of government of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, at the northern port city of Thessaloniki , Greece, on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister has hosted a regional summit of four Balkan countries in the northern city of Thessaloniki, amid peaceful protests against a deal for neighboring Macedonia to change its name.

Alexis Tsipras met Wednesday with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, and the prime ministers of Romania and Bulgaria, Viorica Dancila and Boyko Borissov.

Talks focused on energy and local road and rail transport networks, which, Tsipras said, together with harbor projects in the Aegean and the Black Sea, would help sea-borne trade bypass the congested Bosporus Straits in Turkey.

Several hundred Greeks who oppose the country’s deal for Macedonia to be renamed “North Macedonia,” which is set to end a 27-year dispute, tried to reach the meeting venue but were prevented by robust police forces.

No clashes were reported.

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