The referendum will help Macedonia to join the EU and NATO, said the Minister of defense

© AFP 2018 / Saul LoebМинистр of defense James Mattis in Washington, USA. August 7, 2018, archive, OttoThe referendum will help Macedonia to join the EU and NATO, said the Minister of defense© 2018 AFP / Saul Loeb

Referendum on renaming of Macedonia by the Treaty of Skopje and Athens is the most important step in the history of the Republic and its progress towards NATO and the EU, said during a visit to Skopje by the Minister of defence of the USA James Mattis.

Day Mattis met with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran by Sevim and defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska, and then made a statement at a press conference.

«The upcoming referendum – the most important voice in the history of your nation. Citizens should use their democratic right and vote in the referendum, which has historical significance for the further progress of Macedonia towards the integration in NATO and the EU, what it has the support of the United States,» said Mattis in a press conference, a video which placed the national Agency MIA.

«You recently celebrated the anniversary of the referendum (independence 1991), where more than 95% of citizens voted for independence. Two weeks later your citizens will once again have the opportunity of moving the country forward,» said Mattis.

He also thanked the Prime Minister and Minister zaeva Sekerinski for their contribution to the solution of «heavy dispute about the name with Greece».

«Macedonia will get its rightful place in the most successful military Alliance along with the other 29 members who are committed to protecting you and your safety… It will bring security and economic development, which is confirmed by the example of Montenegro (joined NATO in June 2017) where foreign investment is doubled after receiving membership in the Alliance», — concluded the American Minister of defense.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a summit in Brussels on 11 July that the leaders of all 29 member countries officially invited Macedonia to join the Alliance. He said that «as soon as Macedonia will make the necessary changes to the Constitution will officially invite the country to join NATO under the new name — the Republic of North Macedonia». After signing the Protocol on accession to NATO it will have to be ratified by the parliaments of all 29 countries of the Alliance.

After administration of Macedonia out of NATO will be only two Balkan countries: Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Traditionally Russia is against NATO expansion, calling it a threat to its national security. At the same time Moscow also categorically rejects accusations of interference in the Affairs of other countries.