Šekerinska: It’s possible we receive an invitation to NATO this year

Radmila Šekerinska; Photo: Facebook / Radmila Šekerinska

SKOPJE – We are focused on finding a solution to the name dispute by the end of June, in order to turn things around, so in July, Macedonia can receive an invitation to join NATO, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Radmila Šekerinska at a meeting with journalists ahead of her official visit to the United States which lasts from April 26 to May 2, at the invitation of the US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis.

She pointed out that Macedonia can not become a member at this moment, but that it is possible for the country to receive an invitation from NATO, this year.

“It is important that the negotiation process with Greece succeed. I would like to emphasize that in such a case, Macedonia will not become a NATO member in July, but will only receive an invitation for membership, followed by the ratification process. This means that our southern neighbor will have another opportunity to block our membership if we do not reach a solution to the name dispute. Any postponement of the decision is to our disadvantage, because the timing is so important. Next year, Macedonia will hold presidential elections, and in Greece there will be European elections, therefore I think that we should make every effort to reach a solution”, said Šekerinska.

The Government, says the deputy Prime Minister, is focused on finding a solution to the name in time for the NATO summit because any delay can change the situation on the ground.

“There will be a period of time which will be unpredictable, because only a part of the work actually depends on Macedonia. Recent statements from Greek officials are not surprising because last year they said that EU membership would not be a problem, but NATO membership would be”, said Šekerinska.