1st LD Writethru: NATO members sign Accession Protocol for Macedonia

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 6, 2019
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BRUSSELS, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Permanent Representatives of the 29 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday signed the Accession Protocol for Macedonia.

Following the signing of the protocol, Macedonia can now take part in NATO activities as an invitee, said NATO in a statement published on its website.

The accession process now moves to the capitals of the 29 NATO members where the protocol will be ratified according to national procedures. The country will become a member of NATO as soon as all members have ratified the protocol, said the statement.

Macedonia and Greece recently resolved their long-standing dispute when the former agreed to change their country name to "Republic of North Macedonia", clearing thus the biggest obstacle for the Balkan country's bid for NATO and the European Union (EU).

Although the Greek parliament was due to ratify in the first half of February also FYROM's NATO accession protocol, according to the agreed timetable, majority of Greek citizens seem to have not yet been persuaded to accept a name containing the word "Macedonia".

Around 69 percent of Greeks still oppose the Macedonia name agreement, according to a survey released on Sunday's "To Vima" (The Tribune) local newspaper.

In the poll conducted by polling firm Metron Analysis, 71 percent of respondents said that they will be referring to the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as Skopje, the name of its capital.

Greece and Macedonia have been in dispute 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. Greece's objection has impeded Skopje's bids to join NATO and the European Union.

Under the UN-brokered Prespa Agreement in June 2018, Macedonia's constitutional name would become "the Republic of North Macedonia." Enditem

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