Greece sees ‘dramatic improvement’ in North Macedonia ties

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, left, shakes hands with his North Macedonia's counterpart Nikola Dimitrov, right, at the end of their meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Dendias arrived Tuesday in Skopje to discuss the bilateral relations and to express Greek support to the Balkan country's bid to open the membership talks with European Union. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

SKOPJE – Greece’s foreign minister says relations with North Macedonia have “dramatically improved” since a deal to change the country’s name from Macedonia, ending a decades-old dispute between the two neighbors.

But Nikos Dendias added that “some issues” of the deal concluded this year, such as an agreement on trademarks, need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Greece and North Macedonia were at odds for almost three decades over the small Balkan country’s name. Greece has a northern province named Macedonia, and Athens argued that the use of the name by its northern neighbor implied claims on Greek territory and cultural heritage. Skopje denied that.

The agreement paved the way for North Macedonia to join NATO and, eventually, the European Union.

Dendias spoke during a brief visit Tuesday to Skopje.