Brussels – NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Eilene Gottemoeller expects that today all the leaders of the NATO member states to agree on the membership invitation for Macedonia and soon start accession negotiations with our country. In an interview with Nezavisen/Independent newspaper, Gottemoeller said that NATO had already prepared the negotiating documents and that if the example of Montenegro was followed, the accession protocol that would have to be ratified by all member states would be completed within four months.
“We see this as a very important historic moment for your country, but also for NATO,” Gottemoeller said, adding that once all the procedures are completed, including the agreement with Athens, we will enter NATO as North Macedonia after previously being called Skopje, FYROM and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Regarding the question whether the lack of an invitation to the head of state Gjorge Ivanov was a message to him, given that the entire government top was invited to the summit in Bucharest, the Deputy Secretary General answered in a diplomatic manner that our government is the one who decides who will come to the summit and that there are different practices in different member states about who represents them in NATO.
Concerning the message of NATO for those who oppose the name and referendum agreement, Gottemoeller responded in a positive tone – basically avoiding the possibility of the referendum failing. According to her, NATO membership means the opportunity to strengthen the stability and security of Macedonia and to ensure a better economic perspective and future of the country. So she recommended that they focus on the big picture.
Would a negative referendum mean withdrawing the conditional invitation that Macedonia had in NATO for ten years? For Gottemoeller, Macedonia should make efforts to pass the whole procedure, and NATO is not the one to comment at the moment.
“We will not comment, but we will encourage you. I want to emphasize that FYROM is on the threshold to make a big step towards security and stability. Therefore, we want to make sure that all citizens see this as a great opportunity that must not be missed,” she said, adding that she personally hoped for a positive outcome and believed that our authorities would work hard to convince the public in the benefits of admission.
In the end, she said she was eager to come to Skopje and that Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was very devoted to our country in which he stayed when he was younger. (SJ)