Thursday, August 21, 2008

U.S. supports Macedonia’s NATO bid

U.S. Secretary General Condoleezza Rice believes nothing should stop Macedonia’s bid for NATO membership.

In an interview with the Voice of America’s Macedonian language service, Rice said that the U.S.’s view was that Macedonia should be accepted into NATO, regardless of the “name” dispute between Skoplje and Athens.

“That was our stance in Bucharest (at the NATO summit). I hope that the name dispute will be resolved soon…That is something that must not be an obstacle to Macedonia’s NATO accession, and we are working on that,” she said.

Rice compared relations between Macedonia and Greece to the current relations between Georgia and Russia.

“One reason for the existence of the Action Plan for NATO Membership and Accession is to help countries under the auspices of the Collective Security Organization overcome long-term problems, differences and conflicts,” she explained.

Today’s International Herald Tribune also draws parallels between the dispute between Macedonia and Greece and that of Georgia and Russia.

“Macedonia must be given an invitation to join NATO immediately, which will send a decisive message to Moscow, while NATO will show that it is intent on enlarging and will stress the right to protect the territorial integrity of small countries,” IHT writes.

“In that way, Moscow will understand the West’s decisiveness when it comes to ‘frozen conflicts’, whether in Georgia, Macedonia or Kosovo, where Russia supports Serbia which is against the newly-proclaimed state’s independence,” the IHT states.

Another round of talks between Macedonian and Greek negotiators in New York is currently under way regarding the “name” dispute, mediated by United Nations official Mathew Nimetz.

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