Macedonia is officially renamed North Macedonia

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Speaking to reporters Wednesday at a meeting of NATO defense ministers, Sekerinska said North Macedonia has "shown that change is possible if you have the right amount of political leadership".

The amendment that changed the country's name became law with its publication in the official gazette, a month after the parliament approved the move.

Macedonian authorities began yesterday removing official signs from government buildings to prepare for the country's new name: North Macedonia. A series of practical adjustments - ranging from new road signs to updated passports and currency - will be made gradually, and started with the government website late Tuesday.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said his country would press ahead with all the changes needed to fulfill its end of the historic deal he reached with the prime minister of Greece a year ago.

Athens had long argued that its small, landlocked neighbor's name implied claims on the northern Greek province of Macedonia, and on ancient Greek cultural heritage.

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Greece only allowed Skopje to join the United Nations in 1995 as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", a reference to the country's former membership of Yugoslavia.

Greece's objections to Skopje's use of the name Macedonia since the country's independence in 1991 complicated bids by the small Western Balkan nation to join the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

A tank truck drives by a road sign reading "Republic of Macedonia" entering from Greece into Macedonia at Bogorodica border crossing, on Macedonia's southern border with Greece, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in a speech that this marks the end of insecurity for the country, and opens the path to a prosperous future through membership of the "most powerful alliance in the world".

Negotiations between Greece and Macedonia were protracted and hard.

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