North Macedonia formally joins NATO as 30th member in Brussels ceremony

A ceremony was held at NATO headquarters in Belgium on Monday, March 30 to mark the addition of North Macedonia to the alliance.

North Macedonia officially joined NATO on Friday, becoming the 30th member of the alliance after resolving a long-running name row with Greece.

“This is great news at a difficult time, when the whole world is faced with fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Every nation is taking unprecedented measures to limit the spread of the virus, save lives and limit the impact on our economies,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “This challenge is too great for any single nation alone. So it is more important than ever that our nations stand together, work together and support each other. This is the essence of transatlantic solidarity. We are stronger together.”

The U.S. State Department said Friday North Macedonia had submitted its “instrument of accession” to the NATO treaty in Washington, completing the final formal step in the membership process.

The move capped a successful week of diplomacy for North Macedonia, after E.U. governments agreed – after several delays – that they would start membership talks with Skopje.

NATO countries signed North Macedonia’s accession protocol in February last year, after which all 29 national parliaments ratified the country’s membership, ending with Spain.

The way to NATO and European Union membership was opened by a deal struck with Greece in January last year to change the name of the former Yugoslav republic to the Republic of North Macedonia, ending ended one of the world’s longest diplomatic disputes.

With reporting from AFP

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