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Protesters in Macedonia urge government not to change country’s name

Greece claims that the current name implies a territorial claim to some of its territory.

Several thousand protesters in Macedonia have demanded that the government call off ongoing talks with neighbouring Greece over a decades-long name dispute.

Civic organisations joined under the motto “We are Macedonia” to organise a rally in the capital, Skopje, on Sunday.

They are urging the government not to agree to any changes to the country’s name and to protect the Macedonian national identity and language.

Premier Zoran Zaev’s nine-month-old centre-left government has opened negotiations to resolve Greece’s assertion that Macedonia’s name in its current form implies a territorial claim against its own region with the same name.

Mr Zaev has said he could accept a “geographical qualifier”, such as “Vardar”, “upper” or “north”, as a compromise, but insists the new name must “respect the dignity” of Macedonia’s people.

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