European Western Balkans

Stoltenberg in Skopje: The door is open, but crossing the threshold requires serious work

Zoran Zaev and Jens Stoltenberg; Photo: NATO

SKOPJE – NATO’s door is open to new members, but crossing the threshold requires serious work, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an address to MPs, the state leadership and the heads of several institutions at a session of the Parliament of Macedonia. He specifically addressed and commended the ratification of the Treaty on good neighbourly relations with Bulgaria and the voting of the Law on Languages.

Stoltenberg said that members of the North Atlantic Alliance could unanimously invite any European country to become a member, but for that to happen there is still work to be done. However, he said, there is a place for more flags in front of NATO headquarters.

“I welcome the will of this government to resolve this issue. Yesterday’s meeting between the negotiators in New York was also another important step. Encouraged by the recent progress, I am using this opportunity to encourage you to move forward”, said the NATO Secretary General.

He gave special importance to the diversity and the adoption of the Law on Languages.

“Having a long political career taught me the more inclusive a society is, the more successful it is. Diversity is power, not weakness. Where there is diversity, it is accompanied by good governance, and there is success”, he said.

After the meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Stoltenberg said that there is no Plan B and no entry into NATO until the name dispute is resolved

Stoltenberg also pointed out several times that NATO is a political alliance that defines the decisions which are done with consensus.

He said that it is very important to speed up and complete the reforms that they have begun.

“It is not easy, but it can be done. So I urge all parties to work constructively for the benefit of all your people. I call on the government to cooperate with the opposition and vice versa. I encourage you to continue on the path of reform, we want you to succeed. We want to see your country as the heart of a democratic and prosperous region. Prime Minister, we want to support you”, said Stoltenberg.

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