Greece has been rebuked by the U.N.'s high court for blocking Macedonia's bid to join NATO in 2008 over the long-running dispute by the former Yugoslav republic's use of the name “Macedonia.”
Monday's ruling by the International Court of Justice in the Hague does not settle the dispute but adds weight to the Skopje government's charge that Greece's veto of its attempt to join both NATO and the European Union is unfair.
Macedonia hailed the decision and expressed the hope that Greece would take steps to resolve the matter. Athens sees the use of the name Macedonia as laying future territorial claims to its own northern province of Macedonia.
The dispute finds its current roots to the 1991 break up of Yugoslavia but actually dates back to the times of Alexander the Great when the territory called Macedonia breached the current border separating the two nations.
Tensions were raised between Greece and Macedonia in September when a giant statue of the ancient warrior king was unveiled in Skopje. Both nations claim him as part of their heritage.