NATO invites Skopje to begin accession talks

Vladimir Afanasyev  TASS

Vladimir Afanasyev TASS

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (2L) gestures before a breakfast meeting with the U.S. president at the USA chief of mission's residence in Brussels on July 11, 2018, ahead of a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit.

In 2008 Nato agreed to invite Macedonia to join the military alliance once its name dispute was settled, and Wednesday's Nato summit meeting in Brussels will conclude with a formal invitation to join Nato.

We will remind, Greece and Macedonia on 17 June signed an agreement to change the name of the former Yugoslav Republic Republic of North Macedonia. It still faces several hurdles - including constitutional changes and a public referendum in Macedonia - before it becomes final. The Greek Parliament will decide on the agreement in the coming months in a vote that will also determine the future of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' government. They claim it implies territorial ambitions on its own northern province of the same name, which was the birthplace of the ancient warrior king Alexander the Great, and usurps ancient Greek heritage and history.

News reports on July 11 said Greece was preparing to expel two Russian diplomats suspected of meddling in the issue of Macedonia's name.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev ...

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"Because this is an opportunity that is given once in a lifetime".

Sealed a month ago, the historical agreement between the two countries also satisfied the EU's most important pre-accession condition. Without any roadblocks emerging, formal North Atlantic Treaty Organisation entry is not expected before mid-2020 due to both North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession negotiations, which should move quickly, and various ratification processes in the alliance's member countries.

The foreign ministry in Moscow said on Wednesday it would respond in kind to Greece's expulsion of two Russian diplomats, Interfax news agency reported.

Both Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin criticized the decision, which they saw as "not friendly toward Serbia", in Vucic's words, and supportive of Kosovo's independence, according to Vulin.

Mevlut Cavusoglu (May-VLOOT CHA-voosh-oh-loo) insists "Turkey is a sovereign country" and says its acquisition of the S400 anti-aircraft system came only because it needed such a system and ran out of other options, such as from the United States.

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