Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation invites Macedonia to start accession talks

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation invites Macedonia to start accession talks

A representative of the society said it was not involved in any alleged attempts to bribe senior Greek Orthodox clergymen, the Russian state Interfax news agency reported.

"We agreed to invite the government of Skopje to start accession talks".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that despite the disagreement with the change of name of the country, many inhabitants of Macedonia, it is a requirement for joining the Alliance.

Last week, Macedonia's parliament ratified in a second vote the agreement with Greece to resolve the 27-year old dispute between the two neighouring countries by changing the name of the former Yugoslav republic to North Macedonia.

Thousands of Macedonians take part in a protest over a compromise solution in Macedonia's dispute with Greece over the country's name in Skopje, Macedonia, June 2, 2018.

In Greece, rejection of the deal is, amongst others, coming from the seven MPs inside Independent Greeks (ANEL), the small right-wing nationalistic party in a governing coalition with the left wing Syriza, headed by Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

That is because Athens has always been upset FYR Macedonia is too similar to a region in northern Greece called Macedonia.

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

Greek media reported earlier that Athens had made a decision to expel the Russian envoys and ban entry to another two over suspicions they had tried to undermine an agreement with neighboring Macedonia.

While the accession process is relatively long, Stoltenberg seemed to suggest that Macedonia will become a member soon after finalizing the deal with Greece.

Once a country is invited to start accession talks, it benefits from invitee status and consequently takes part in a lot more North Atlantic Treaty Organisation activities, the official said.

Sealed a month ago, the historical agreement between the two countries also satisfied the EU's most important pre-accession condition.

Both Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin criticized the decision, which they saw as "not friendly toward Serbia", in Vucic's words, and supportive of Kosovo's independence, according to Vulin.

Greek news outlets reported the expulsions Wednesday, adding that two other Russian envoys were banned from entering Greece.

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