Accession Protocol of the future Republic of North Macedonia to the North Atlantic Treaty signed
On 6 February, the Permanent Representative of Lithuania to NATO, Ambassador Vytautas Leškevičius together with other representatives of Allies signed the Accession Protocol of the future Republic of North Macedonia to the North Atlantic Treaty. The solemn ceremony of signing was held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
According to the Ambassador V. Leškevičius, this new phase of NATO's ongoing enlargement process confirms that the Alliance's door remains open to all freedom- and peace-loving nations.
“This is a reminder to other NATO aspirant countries, primarily Georgia and Ukraine, that the Alliance consistently adheres to its commitments and implements them on the basis of consensus among all member states,” said the Ambassador. According to him, Lithuania will continue to strongly support NATO's “open door policy”, as one of the most effective ways of spreading peace and stability in Europe.
The ceremony was attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov represented Skopje.
After Greece ratifies the Protocol and Skopje informs international organizations about the implementation of the Prespa Agreement, the country will be called the Republic of North Macedonia.
Following the ratification procedures in the remaining NATO member states and in the future Republic of North Macedonia, the Balkan nation will become the Alliance's 30th member. The Seimas (Parliament) will have to ratify the Protocol in Lithuania.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership since 2005. The country joined NATO's Membership Action Plan in 1999. Macedonia is the only member of the so-called Vilnius Ten that has not joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization yet. The dispute over Macedonia's name with Greece has blocked Macedonia's accession to both the European Union and NATO. The agreement signed on 17 June 2018 at the Prespa lake paved the way for the country's Euro-Atlantic integration. NATO officially invited Macedonia to begin membership talks on 11 July 2018.
On 4 April, NATO will mark the 70th anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. In 2019, Lithuania will celebrate 15 years of NATO membership.