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US Official Dampens Macedonia’s NATO Hopes

April 29, 2012

In a blow to Skopje’s hopes of a breakthrough at the Alliance summit in Chicago, US official repeats that Macedonia will have to resolve the ‘name’ dispute with Greece before it receives an invitation.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 27.04.2012


Washington DC

The US official’s words put an end to Macedonia’s slim hopes that it may get anything more than warm words at the forthcoming summit in the US.

“Macedonia has fulfilled key criteria required of NATO members and has contributed to regional and global security”, Tina Kaidanow, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs said, explaining US policy towards the summit at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

However, Kaidanow repeated that the US wishes to see a solution to the Greek-Macedonian “name” dispute before NATO can “extend a membership offer to Macedonia”.

Similar words came Friday from Germany’s Defence Ministry, which is hosting Macedonian Defence Minister Fatmir Besimi.

“Macedonia’s future membership in NATO and the EU will depend on the removal of the existing obstacles”, Christian Schmidt, State Secretary to the Ministry, said.

In 2008 Greece blocked Macedonia’s accession at the Bucharest NATO Summit because it insists that its neighbour’s use of the name “Macedonia” implies a territorial claim to its northern province of the same name.

Since then, NATO has repeatedly demanded a solution to the dispute before Macedonia can be invited to join.

Last December, the International Court of Justice, ICJ, ruled that Greece had breached an interim deal brokered by the UN in 1995 when it blocked Macedonia’s attempt to join NATO.

However, the court did not directly order Greece to stop the blockade, as Macedonia had requested.

In a last-ditch attempt to boost its chances in Chicago, using the ruling of the ICJ as its main argument, Macedonia’s parliament this week passed a declaration that reaffirms the country’s commitment towards the NATO membership bid.

Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki, at a meeting in New York with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon this week, urged him to take more account of the World Court ruling.

Kurt Volker, former US Ambassador to NATO, offered a different view of Macedonia’s accession in a recent interview with media in Kiev, Ukraine.

“There is no reason now with this Court decision why the US or Europe or NATO should not be pushing to have Macedonia admitted on that basis,” Volker told a Ukrainian newspaper.

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