NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg to meet top officials

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who began his official visit to Skopje late Wednesday, will meet Thursday with the Macedonian top officials the leaders of political parties.

Stoltenberg’s visit comes during a period of intensified activities and communication between the authorities in Skopje and Athens over the resolution of the decades-long name dispute and Macedonia’s expectations for progress in the Euro-Atlantic integration.

Stoltenberg will start his activities within the framework of the official visit by meeting the Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.

Afterwards, a plenary meeting between the delegations of the Macedonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NATO will be held. He will be presented with the achievements in foreign policy over the past period, with emphasis that NATO and EU membership, good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation are the three strategic priorities of country’s foreign policy.

Stoltenberg will also meet President Gjorge Ivanov followed by a meeting with Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska.

Stoltenberg is also scheduled to visit NATO Liaison Office followed by meeting with Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi, after which he will deliver an address in the parliament.

After addressing MPs, Stoltenberg is scheduled to meet with VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickovski, followed by a meeting with DUI leader Ali Ahmeti.

NATO Secretary General will end his official activities by meeting the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. He will be welcomed with the highest honors in the government, and after the meeting, Stoltenberg and Zaev are to hold a joint press conference.

NATO will invite Macedonia to join the Alliance as a member country once a mutually acceptable solution is reached in the name dispute with Greece, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says in an interview with MIA conducted on the eve of his first official visit to the country.

Asked whether Macedonia will be extended a membership invitation at the NATO Summit in Brussels without a settled name issue, under the provisional reference FYROM, Stoltenberg categorically says that the position of NATO remains unchanged.

“No. NATO’s position remains unchanged. All decisions in NATO are reached based on a consensus among all NATO allies. At the summit in Bucharest and all other subsequent summits, they agreed that NATO will invite your country to join after a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue under UN’s auspices is reached,” Stoltenberg tells MIA.

The NATO chief says he welcomes the renewed negotiations between Macedonia and Greece.