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Macedonians oppose name change for EU entry

(SKOPJE) - Over 60 percent of Macedonians oppose any name change to solve the country's long-running row with Greece and facilitate the Balkan country's membership of the EU and NATO, a poll showed Tuesday.

While the latest poll of the Macedonian Institute for Political Research found that 79.8 percent support European Union and NATO integration, 62.6 percent rejected the idea of changing the country's name to make it possible.

The poll was conducted via a telephone survey of 1,111 people.

Another poll taken in September of 1,100 respondents by the Macedonian secretariat for EU integration, a governmental body, showed 66.5 percent of Macedonians thought it was more important to keep the name "Republic of Macedonia" then to join the European Union and NATO.

Athens and Skopje have been at loggerheads over the right to the name Macedonia since the former Yugoslav republic proclaimed independence in 1991.

Greece, which has a northern province of the same name, has effectively blocked Macedonia's EU and NATO integration until an agreement on the name.

UN-led negotiations on the issue have so far failed to yield any results.

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