BRATISLAVA, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Slovakia welcomes the signing of Macedonia's NATO-accession agreement, Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry informed on Thursday.
"The Slovak Republic, as a long-term supporter of the open-door policy, has also contributed towards increasing stability and security in the Western Balkans region and is ready to launch a national ratification process," stated the ministry's press department head Juraj Tomaga.
The signing represents the Balkan country's final step in joining the alliance. The process of ratifying the protocol by the parliaments of all NATO-member states, which can last up to 18 months, has begun.
The former Yugoslav republic is set to become NATO's 30th member, probably under its new name of the Republic of North Macedonia.
Skopje's bids to join NATO had been impeded by objection from Greece, which has been in dispute with Macedonia since 1991, when the former Yugoslav republic gained independence.
Greece has objected to its neighbour's constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia, fearing that the name indicates territorial ambitions over the northern Greek province of Macedonia.
Under the UN-brokered Prespa Agreement in June 2018, Macedonia's constitutional name would become "the Republic of North Macedonia."