U.S. Hails Outcome of Macedonia Name Referendum

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The United States on Sunday welcomed the outcome of a referendum in Macedonia on changing its name, that could bring it economically and militarily closer to the West.

Macedonian voters chose to support a plan to rename the country in a way that will end a decades-long spat with Greece and unlock a path to NATO and EU membership.

With ballots from 93 percent of polling stations counted, 91.3 percent of votes favoured the name changing to North Macedonia, compared to 5.7 percent opposed, according to the electoral commission's official count.

However, only a third of the 1.8 million-strong electorate voted.

"The United States strongly supports the agreement's full implementation, which will allow Macedonia to take its rightful place in NATO and the EU, contributing to regional stability, security, and prosperity," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

She urged Macedonian lawmakers "to rise above partisan politics and seize this historic opportunity to secure a brighter future for the country as a full participant in Western institutions."

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