North Atlantic Treaty Organisation invites Skopje to begin accession talks

13 July, 2018, 22:57 | Author: Wade Massey
  • After Greece said it would kick out two Russian diplomats Russia promised to expel Greeks from the embassy in Moscow

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (2L) gestures before a breakfast meeting with the United States president at the USA chief of mission's residence in Brussels on July 11, 2018, ahead of a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit.

"We have chose to invite the government in Skopje to begin accession talks to join our alliance", the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders said in their Summit communiqué.

Macedonia and Greece yesterday (12 June) resolved a almost three-decade row by agreeing to the name Republic of North Macedonia, opening the road for the landlocked country to start European Union accession talks and to join NATO.

Greece and Macedonia agreed last month that the former Yugoslav republic should be renamed North Macedonia.

Russian officials also allegedly tried to bribe local government officials and senior clergymen and to interfere in negotiations to end Greece's longstanding dispute with neighboring Macedonia over its name.

The Macedonian Parliament ratified the agreement with Greece, but the Macedonian President refused to sign it.

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Athens insisted Macedonia should change its name because it has its own northern province of the same name, which in ancient times was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire - a source of intense pride for modern-day Greeks.

In his opinion, this is a strong signal that "NATO's doors are still open".

Greece announced earlier this week that it would expel two Russian diplomats suspected of hindering its name deal with Macedonia, EurActiv writes, citing Greek media. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has staked his political future on the deal, threatening to resign if people vote against it. Skopje's road ahead, however, will remain bumpy, because opposition groups in both Macedonia and Greece have heavily contested the deal.

Russian Federation said it would respond to the Greek expulsions by taking similar steps against Greek diplomats in Moscow.

Despite this latest development, the same sources note that Greece continues, in line with its long-standing policy, to want good cooperative relations with Russian Federation and to promote friendship between the two peoples, but they add that this can only be the case if both countries respect each other's sovereignty.

The most important condition for joining is to solve the name dispute with Greece, something Macedonia is still struggling to do despite the official agreement between the two countries.

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