NATO invites Skopje to begin accession talks

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-13 00:10:31|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BRUSSELS, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that NATO had decided to invite the government in Skopje to start accession talks.

"We made clear NATO's door remains open by inviting the government in Skopje to start accession talks," Stoltenberg said at a press conference on the second day of the NATO summit in Brussels.

In a signing ceremony marking the beginning of the talks with Skopje, Stoltenberg said detailed discussions would begin to help the country make its final preparations.

"For many years the members of your armed forces have participated in allied missions."

"Once all your national procedures are complete, all NATO allies have ratified your accession, you will become the 30th member of this alliance," Stoltenberg told Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the ceremony.

Stoltenberg said the agreement on the name issue that the FYROM reached with Greece had removed the obstacle to the opening of accession talks.

On June 12, the two sides arrived at a final deal after a long process of negotiations to solve the name dispute.

Under the agreement reached, Zaev said the name to be used both internationally and bilaterally would be the Republic of North Macedonia.

The name dispute started in 1991 when the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) declared independence from Yugoslavia and chose the name Macedonia, which is also the name of a northern Greek province.

Athens expressed concern from the beginning that the use of the same name by the neighboring state could lead to territorial claims.