NATO chief urges FYROM to back name deal, before heading to Athens


“If you implement the agreement on the name, you will become a NATO member,” the chief of the North Atlantic alliance, Jens Stoltenberg told the Former Yugoslav Republic Macedonia (FYROM) during a visit to the capital, Skopje, on Thursday.

“I hope that my next visit here will find you a member of the alliance,” said NATO's secretary-general on a visit to the Balkan capital ahead of the September 30 referendum on the name deal with Greece signed in June.

“In a few weeks' time, you will vote in a referendum which will decide your future and your accession in the NATO and European Union. You need to decide how you will vote in the referendum. NATO is ready to accept you as its 30th member,” Stoltenberg was quoted by the Independent Balkan News Agency as saying.

Skopje is expecting a number of high-profile visits in the runup to the plebiscite, including from the chancellors of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, on Friday, and Germany, Angela Merkel, on Saturday.

Stoltenberg will be traveling to Athens next, where he will meet with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.