brussels - Macedonia is invited to become a member of NATO once the name issue has been definitively resolved. The leaders of the 29 member states have given their green light at their summit in Brussels.
The condition is that the inhabitants of the small Balkan state will agree to the new name Northern Macedonia in a referendum later this year and all national procedures have been completed. The parliament in the capital Skopje is already in agreement.
Greece itself has a region called Macedonia and has made a name change conditional to allow the former Yugoslav Republic to join the military alliance. Athens and Skopje found a solution a month ago.
According to NATO CEO Jens Stoltenberg, the decision is a strong signal that the door of NATO is open to new members. The last country to join NATO was Montenegro, which became the 29th Member State last year.
'Macedonia has made significant progress, which was also the reason that the Netherlands agreed to start the negotiations', said Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok. 'This means that they have to show even more progress in the field of the rule of law and that it is a stable country. But we can now take this step. '
'It is difficult to predict how long Macedonia will be a member, because as the Netherlands we are always on the line that you also have to show results', the minister continued. 'You express confidence, and then you hope it goes fast. But it can not be guaranteed that it will be ready in two years. '
Blok did not want to speculate about the 31st member state. Bosnia, Ukraine and Georgia are mentioned in the final declaration, but are 'not yet far enough' to take further steps.
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