Sunday, 18 November 2018 | News today: 7

Referendum on Skopje-Athens name deal will be successful, PM Zaev tells NATO conference


I am certain that majority of the citizens of Macedonia will cast a positive vote at the forthcoming referendum on the name deal with Greece, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Wednesday in Brussels at the conference ‘NATO Engages – The Brussels Summit Dialogue’.

Today, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the decision for Macedonia to start the accession talks, which means that now Skopje and Athens should start work on meeting the obligations deriving from the deal, Zaev said.

‘We have taken the obligation to call a referendum, as the name of our country is to be changed. The referendum should take place in late September or early October. The process is rather democratic and I believe that vast majority of our citizens will vote for,’ Zaev told the conference, also attended by Defense, Foreign Ministers, Radmila Sekerinska and Nikola Dimitrov respectively, Vice-Premier for European Affairs Bujar Osmani and National NATO Coordinator Stevo Pendarovski.

Zaev said the name talks were not easy. However, he said, the Prime Ministers of both countries decided to put the future of citizens above their political careers.

The copy-paste comments of opposition parties from both countries are a solid confirmation that the deal is fair. By reaching an agreement, Macedonia and Greece have moved mountains, proving that settling of such sensitive issue is possible, Zaev said.

To a question what could Macedonia offer to the Alliance, Zaev said the country’s NATO membership status would contribute to the stability of the region considered to be rather dangerous in the past. He also notified the country’s substantial contribution to NATO-led missions across the globe.

Under the NATO decision to invite Macedonia to start the accession process, the country will become part of a family it belongs to,’ Zaev said.

‘NATO Engages’ event brought together current and next generation leaders to discuss international security in the 21stCentury. The event’s themes included defense and security, deterrence and dialogue as well as how NATO can project stability in today’s world.

The event was organized by the consortium of the Atlantic Council, German Marshall Fund (GMF), Munich Security Conference (MSC), and Women in International Security (WIIS) in partnership with NATO.