NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reminded that only Macedonia and 29 member states can decide on the country’s membership in the Alliance. At a press conference, prior to a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, Secretary-General Stoltenberg asked to comment on the statements of the Russian ambassador to Macedonia that the country would become a legitimate target in the event of a conflict if it became a NATO member, replied:
“The whole idea that Russia will not accept certain countries to become NATO members is an idea of the spheres of influence where the great powers control the smaller states, and that is in contradiction to everything NATO is advocating for. First, I think that every nation’s right to decide on its own path and security arrangements is important, this is a fundamental principle for NATO. But Russia has also advocated this principle in several agreements, such as the 1974 Helsinki Agreement and other documents. It is up to Skopje to decide on its own path and whether it wants to join NATO. Macedonia and NATO’s 29th allies decide about this, and nobody else has a word in this process,” Stoltenberg stated.
Stoltenberg also said that he welcomes the progress in negotiations over the name dispute and is being informed about it. Stoltenberg pointed out that the invitation to join the Alliance for Macedonia since 2008 is still valid.