A UN envoy has praised Macedonia after its parliament approved a deal with Greece that would rename the country North Macedonia.
Matthew Nimetz said that the agreement, which remains to be ratified by Greece, paves the way for "a firmer basis for peace and security in the Balkans."
"I wish to congratulate the parliament and the country's citizens for this accomplishment and for the democratic manner, in which this important process was undertaken," he said.
The agreement on changing the name comes after a 27-year dispute, with Greece complaining that the name Macedonia implies claims on Greece's own territory and cultural heritage.
The passage has been hailed by European leaders, who want to see the dispute resolved and Macedonia admitted, under its new name, to NATO.
Greece has blocked Macedonia's NATO entry, as well as talks toward EU membership.
Macedonia approved the deal on Friday, while Greece's parliament is expected to vote on it before March.
The vote is expected to be a cliffhanger, with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' coalition partner, Panos Kammenos, the leader of the right-wing populist Independent Greeks, virulently opposed.
However, it appears that some of Kammenos' own lawmakers are ready to desert him, with Tsipras repeatedly expressing confidence that he will find the 151 votes needed to pass the deal.