by the NATO Secretary General at the ceremony marking the beginning of accession talks with Skopje

  • 12 Jul. 2018 -
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  • Last updated: 12 Jul. 2018 15:50

(As delivered)

Prime Minister Zaev,

Dear Zoran,

Colleagues, friends,

I have just signed a letter informing Prime Minister Zaev of NATO’s decision to invite his government in Skopje to begin Accession talks with the Alliance.

This follows the decision by Allied leaders yesterday.

For many years the members of your armed forces have participated in Allied missions.

Helping to bring peace and security to Afghanistan.

NATO has shown that the door to joining the Alliance is and remains open.

The agreement on the name issue that you reached with Greece has removed the obstacle to the opening of accession talks.

I know that the compromises involved were difficult for both parties.

But I believe the agreement is in the best interests of your country and the wider region.

I congratulate you and all those involved for their political courage.

And their commitment to a better future.

This has been a crucial breakthrough.

Which has opened the path for your country to become a full member of NATO.

Detailed accession talks will now begin.

To help your country make its final preparations for fulol membership.

Once all your national procedures are completed,

and all NATO Allies have ratified your accession,

you will become the thirtieth member of this Alliance.

With a seat at our table.

With an equal voice in our discussions.

An equal vote in our decisions.

And the security that comes with being part of the world’s most successful military alliance.

That will be a proud and important day for your country. 

For your region.

And for NATO.

We want to see you and your country at the heart of a stable, democratic and prosperous region.

And today is an important milestone in achieving that goal. 

The coming months will be extremely busy.

But today is a day to celebrate.

So, congratulations to you, Prime Minister Zaev.

And congratulations to your people.

Thank you.