BRUSSELS – We have seen the place where our flag will be raised as the 30th member of the Alliance. We have been waiting for this since 2008, when it was concluded that we have achieved the standards. Since then, we have actively participated in NATO missions to combat global terrorism and extremist threats. The members of the ARM are trusted to be the main actors in serious security challenges. The missions have strengthened the capabilities of the Army, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, during his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
He said that the invitation is expected, and Macedonia has shown that it is concerned about good neighborly relations by signing agreements with Bulgaria and Greece.
“The agreement with Greece has unlocked our accession to the Alliance and our country gets the place it deserves. We have built friendship with Greece. With Bulgaria we have reached an agreement that has been delayed for a long time and will deepen economic cooperation”, said Zaev.
NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg welcomed the agreement with Greece, which he called a product of patient diplomacy.
“I warmly welcome the settlement of the name dispute. It is a great achievement for Skopje and Athens and demonstrates the value of patient diplomacy. Once all the obligations of the name agreement have been completed, you will become a member of NATO. Without fulfilling the agreement, you will not be able to become part of NATO”, Stoltenberg said.
When asked about the expectations of the upcoming Summit, he said he believed the country would be invited to start accession negotiations.
“After we finish the accession negotiations and we close the name dispute, the country will become a full member”, said Stoltenberg.