North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officially ready to accept Macedonia into the Alliance

14 Juillet, 2018, 04:17 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Vladimir Afanasyev  TASS

The agreement between Greece and its small northern neighbor still faces several hurdles — including constitutional changes and a referendum in Macedonia — before it becomes final.

Russia's ambassador to Skopje has criticized Macedonia's ambitions to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, saying it could become "a legitimate target" if relations between the military alliance and Moscow further worsen.

The invitation to the small Balkan state of two million people comes despite opposition from Russian Federation, which sees its influence in the region diminishing.

"The Greek government chose to expel two Russian diplomats and to ban entry to Greece for another two, accusing them of meddling in the internal Affairs and illegal actions against national security of Greece", - stated in the message. Last month, reports emerged that Warsaw has offered to contribute up to $2 billion (1.7 million euros) to host a US tank unit on its soil.

Greece has a province called Macedonia, and argued that the former Yugoslav state's name implied territorial ambitions against Greece. In addition, Macedonia will also hold a referendum on the deal in the autumn of 2018, Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev said in June.

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When Zaev arrived at the EU meeting in Brussels, he stated: "This is an invitation to a full-fledged membership in the largest union for peace and security on the global scene".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he will invite Macedonia at the upcoming summit of the Alliance in connection with the renaming of the country. Serbia and Montenegro are much further down the road towards accession - and they have been given a target date of 2025.

Form for signing up for free newsletter. "We warmly welcomed last month's historic agreement between Athens and Skopje", he added. According to a highly placed source within the Greek government that spoke to Ekathimerini, Greece has continually endeavored to get along with Russian Federation, but they feel it has been a one-sided effort.

Ratification in member states typically takes a year, meaning that the full process of accession will probably be concluded by the end of 2020.

"We agreed to invite the government of Skopje to start accession talks".

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