US Ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily today announced that he will be leaving the country in early March, and will then retire from the State Department. Baily was instrumental during the political crisis, which resulted with the overthrow of the VMRO-DPMNE Government and the appointment of an SDSM led Government that pushed the name change through Parliament.

It’s been my highest honor to work with this fantastic team, each and every day, over the past four years. Capie and I look forward to thanking friends & colleagues across the country for their hard work on shared goals, wise advice, & generous hospitality. The US-MK relationship stands stronger than ever; nothing will symbolize that better than seeing this country take its NATO seat, Baily tweeted.

Shortly prior to his departure, Baily opted to send an unusual public letter, rejecting his involvement in the numerous criminal charges and detention orders against VMRO officials, which led to badly weaken the party. Baily insisted that the courts are deciding on their own when they issue arrest orders against opposition leaders, and not, as it is widely commented, under US Embassy instructions. Allegations of his meddling in the country sparked an audit of the Embassy and calls from Republic congressmen to remove him, but ultimately he finished his term until the name change was officially approved in Skopje and Athens.

The proposed next US Ambassador to Macedonia is Kate Byrnes, the Deputy Ambassador in Athens. Her nomination is before the Senate, but it’s unclear if or when she will be confirmed.