Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

North Macedonia joins Nato after resolving Greek naming issue

Name change last year opened the way for it to join the EU and the transatlantic alliance

North Macedonian Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski (C) addressing citizens in Skopje. EPA
North Macedonian Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski (C) addressing citizens in Skopje. EPA

North Macedonia became the 30th member of Nato, the transatlantic military alliance, on Friday after it resolved a long-running naming dispute with neighbour Greece last year.

Previously known as Macedonia, the former Yugoslav republic saw the path to Nato and European Union membership opened when it agreed to change its name and Greece removed its veto.

“North Macedonia is now part of the Nato family, a family of thirty nations and almost one billion people. A family based on the certainty that, no matter what challenges we face, we are all stronger and safer together,” said Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The country has previously contributed to Nato-led missions in Afghanistan and in Kosovo.

Mr Stoltenberg will preside over a ceremony at NATO HQ in Brussels on Monday at which the North Macedonian flag will be hoisted alongside those of the other 29 members.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington, welcomed North Macedonia’s into the alliance.

“As President Trump has said, the NATO Alliance has been the bulwark of international peace and security for over 70 years. North Macedonia’s accession to NATO today represents the culmination of many years of effort by the government and people of North Macedonia to join the North Atlantic Alliance,” Mr Pompeo said.

“North Macedonia’s NATO membership will support greater integration, democratic reform, trade, security, and stability across the region.

“North Macedonia’s accession also reaffirms to other aspirants that NATO’s door remains open to those countries willing and able to make the reforms necessary to meet NATO’s high standards, and to accept the responsibilities as well as benefits of membership.”

US President Donald Trump's relationship has not always been an easy one. In the past he has criticised certain European Nato members for failing to devote enough money to the organisation.

Updated: March 27, 2020 09:05 PM

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