Stoltenberg – Zaev Meeting; Wishes for Successful Referendum Conveyed

In a few weeks’ time, Macedonia will hold a referendum on the name agreement, so I encourage voters to turn out in strong numbers, as becoming a full member of the international community with all the benefits that this will bring is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday in Skopje at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. “The accession talks are underway. NATO membership is now within your grasp. This is an opportunity to consolidate peace and stability in the country and the region. To gain a seat, and an equal vote, at NATO’s table. And to join the most successful Alliance in history,” Stoltenberg said. At the NATO Summit in July, he said, the allies invited Macedonia to start accession talks, following the agreement with Greece on the name issue. “Compromise is never easy. And both sides made difficult compromises in order to reach this historic breakthrough and look to a brighter future,” Stoltenberg said. NATO keeps almost one billion citizens across Europe and North America safe, so joining NATO would mean having twenty-nine other countries committed to protect you and your security, which is also the bedrock of prosperity and economic opportunity, Stoltenberg said. “Prime Minister, we want to see your country succeed. And we will support you. NATO’s door is open. But only the people of this country can decide to walk through it. So your future is in your hands. We wait for you in NATO,” Stoltenberg said.

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