Stoltenberg: NATO will prepare accession protocol for Macedonia soon

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the protocol to accept Macedonia as a member state to the Alliance will be prepared soon. The document will be sent to all NATO member states for ratification, but primarily to Greece, which undertook an obligation to ratify it as soon as it is received.

-We will sign the accession protocol in NATO and we can do so soon. The ratification will take more time, everything depends on the 29 parliaments, Stoltenberg told Politico Europe. It is already possible during this week that the ambassadors of the NATO member states sign the protocol. Some member states such as Slovenia have already received the green light for this, according to Slovenian Ambassador Jelko Kacin.

Lithuania will be among the first countries to ratify Macedonia’s NATO accession protocol, enabling it to join the Alliance as the last member of the 2000 Vilnius Group, said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius.

“I am here to express the support to our friends and future allies. The job is still not done, this is clear to everyone and we will not stand aside but actively support the process,” FM Linkevicius told a joint press conference with Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov.

He said Macedonia needs to work hard on reforms in the fields of judiciary, fight against corruption, and public administration, with Lithuania providing support in that regard.

FM Dimitrov said Linkevicius’ visit comes right after the Prespa Agreement ratification.

“I am pleased that Lithuania is behind us in our last steps before joining NATO and at the start of our European path of accession negotiations,” said Dimitrov.

When we sign the accession protocol, Macedonia will sit at the table, said Stoltenberg.