Sunday, March 11, 2007

NATO membership, Kosovo issue to dominate Fried's Skopje visit

NATO membership will be one of the main themes of Thursday's visit of the US Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried.

Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried will be holding talks with President Branko Crvenkovski, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of implementation of the Framework Agreement Imer Aliu and the Foreign Minister Antonio Miloshoski.

Assistant Secretary Fried will also meet with the opposition SDSM leader Radmila Sekerinska and DUI leader Ali Ahmeti.

Macedonian Foreign Ministry said the interlocutors will discuss modalities to strengthen Macedonia's candidacy for NATO membership and the US commitment to supporting Macedonia's NATO bid.

Shortly before his visit to Skopje, Assistant Secretary Freid gave a message to Macedonian authorities and political leaders, saying NATO membership requires that candidate-countries do their homework and reach a wide national consensus.

NATO will decide about membership this year. My advice is to look at the calendar, define what you should do and just do it. This is my message to Macedonians, Fried said in an interview with the American state radio last Sunday.

One of the themes of discussion is the UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's blueprint on the future status of Kosovo, including the bilateral relations and co-operation between Macedonia and the United States.

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