Thursday, 20 September 2018 | News today: 18

Macedonia expects NATO membership invitation at Brussels summit

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The North-Atlantic Council, NATO’s principal political decision-making body, is expected Wednesday to invite Macedonia to start accession talks, in the framework of the Alliance summit in Brussels on July 11-12.

“Once the historic agreement on the name issue is finalised and implemented, NATO will be able to invite the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to become NATO’s 30th member under its new name: the Republic of North Macedonia. This is a signal that NATO’s gate is and will remain open,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday.

NATO will expect a positive outcome of the referendum on the name agreement, probably held in September or October, in order to complete the procedure for Macedonia’s accession.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska are visiting Brussels, where the PM is set to address conference “NATO-engages”, followed by a dinner of all 55 leaders of member-states and partner-countries taking part at the summit.

On Thursday morning, a ceremony will mark Macedonia’s invitation to NATO, followed by a joint press conference of Alliance chief Stoltenberg and PM Zaev.

The Brussels summit will take decisions to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defense, step up in the fight against terrorism, and achieve fairer burden-sharing.