Friday, 16 November, 2018

Macedonia will be invited to accession negotiations to NATO - Stoltenberg

Vladimir Afanasyev  TASS Vladimir Afanasyev TASS
Deanna Wagner | 14 July, 2018, 04:15

In 2008 Nato agreed to invite Macedonia to join the military alliance once its name dispute was settled, and Wednesday's Nato summit meeting in Brussels will conclude with a formal invitation to join Nato.

The newspaper said the move followed perceived attempts by the diplomats to undermine a name-change agreement Greece brokered with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia last month, ending a decades-old diplomatic standoff.

Under the agreement reached, Zaev said the name to be used both internationally and bilaterally would be the Republic of North Macedonia.

In his opinion, this is a strong signal that "NATO's doors are still open". Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev hailed the invitation but noted the objections from Moscow.

More reassuring news concerning the Baltics came from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said before the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit that Canada plans to boost troop numbers in Latvia to 540 from 455 and maintain its presence there until 2023, according to Bloomberg.

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According to N1, Macedonia's President Gjorge Ivanov and the nationalist opposition VMRO-DPMNE, the largest single party in the parliament, strongly oppose the agreement.

Separately on Wednesday, Athens said it would expel two Russian diplomats suspected of involvement in rallies in Greece against the Macedonian name deal. Serbia and Montenegro are much further down the road towards accession - and they have been given a target date of 2025. "Full implementation of the prescribed internal procedures with respect to the agreement on the solution of the name issue is a condition for a successful conclusion of the accession process", the draft conclusion states.

Macedonia's name has led to a dispute with Greece since Macedonia became independent with the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. "They can not get both", Stoltenberg further said.

The NATO invitation constitutes a critical political lifeline for Zaev, especially now that the start of the country's protracted European Union accession negotiations has been delayed until next year.

The United States welcomed the Greek action.