The United States urge Bulgaria and Macedonia to resolve outstanding bilateral disputes outside the accession process to achieve the shared goal – EU membership for Macedonia.

We are clear in our desire to see Macedonia’s candidature enter the negotiating framework by the end of this year, a State Department spokesperson told VOA, welcoming negotiation efforts.

The statement said the enlargement process promotes long-term peace, stability and prosperity throughout the region.

EU’s decision in March to open accession talks with Macedonia was a positive step, and denied the false narrative that the transatlantic community had neglected the Balkans. Delaying these countries’ accession to the EU risks reviving questions of EU credibility in the region, the State Department spokesperson said, adding that the United States was a strong supporter of Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans.