Macedonia's NATO accession protocol to be drafted after Prespa Agreement ratification: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-06 02:44:54|Editor: yan
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SKOPJE, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) accession protocol for Macedonia will be drafted immediately after the ratification of Prespa Agreement by both parties, Macedonian Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska said Saturday.

Sekerinska made the remarks while visiting the Macedonian Army troops deployed at the southern border.

Macedonia is formally called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by the United Nations. Macedonia is also the name of a northern province in Greece. Athens is worried that the use of the same name by the neighboring state could lead to territorial claims.

On June 17 last year, Macedonia and Greece signed the Prespa Agreement to resolve a decades-old name dispute.

According to Sekerinska, the signing of NATO accession protocol will be drafted once Prespa Agreement on the name settlement is implemented and ratified by Macedonia and Greece.

"This timeframe is several weeks, expecting the NATO protocol to be drafted after the deal's ratification in the Greek parliament, followed by the protocol's endorsement by Greek lawmakers," Sekerinska explained, adding that Macedonia will achieve its strategic objective as of February.

On July 11, 2018, NATO leaders agreed to invite Macedonia to begin accession talks to become NATO's 30th member state, though its people must first back the deal with Greece in a referendum. Under an accord signed by Greece and Macedonia on June 17, the official name of the country will become the Republic of North Macedonia.

The solving of the name row that has existed between Macedonia and Greece is seen as the main obstacle Macedonia has to overcome in order to make progress towards the European Union and NATO integration.