NATO to soon sign accession protocol of Republic of North Macedonia: Stoltenberg


Flags of NATO member countries flutter during a handover ceremony at the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, May 25, 2017. US President Donald Trump and other NATO heads of state and government on Thursday will inaugurate the new headquarters as well as participating in an official working dinner. (Photo: APl)

BUCHAREST, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Thursday that NATO will soon sign the accession protocol of the Republic of North Macedonia to the military alliance.

"We will sign the accession protocol soon...When all 29 allies have ratified the protocol, we will be able to welcome the Republic of North Macedonia as the 30th NATO member," Stoltenberg told a joint conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis after their meeting.

Reiterating the continued commitment to the open door policy, Stoltenberg stressed that the upcoming accession of the Balkan country to the NATO will strengthen peace and stability in the region and in Europe.

Macedonia and Greece recently resolved their long-standing dispute when the former agreed to change their country name to "Republic of North Macedonia", clearing thus the biggest obstacle for the Balkan country's bid for NATO and European Union (EU).

Stoltenberg is in Bucharest for the informal meeting of defense ministers of the EU member states. The meeting is the first ministerial level event to be hosted by Romania since it took over the Presidency of the EU Council at the beginning of the year.