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    N. Macedonia to Attend NATO Ministerial Meeting as Observer - US Official

    © REUTERS / Ints Kalnins
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - North Macedonia will attend this week's NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting in Washington, DC in an observer role after signing its accession protocol to join the military alliance in February, a senior US Department of State official said in press briefing on Tuesday.

    "The gathering will include all the ministers from the members of the alliance, as well as, for the first time, North Macedonia, which has signed its accession protocol," the State Department official said. "It will attending as an observer of the ministerial."

    The representatives of NATO's 29 members on February 6 signed a protocol on North Macedonia's accession to the alliance. The Balkan state is set to become the alliance's 30th member after all allies ratify its accession.

    In June, Macedonia and Greece signed the so-called Prespa agreement on the former’s new name and identity. The Macedonian parliament approved amendments to the country’s constitution on January 11 despite a September 30, 2018 referendum in which the vast majority of Macedonians rejected a name change as well as membership in NATO and the European Union. The Greek parliament ratified the Prespa agreement on February 8.

    Greece has objected to Macedonia using that name because of its own region of the same name, and has blocked the country from membership in numerous international organizations, including in NATO and the European Union.

    READ MORE: Northern Greece Businessmen Refuse to Visit Skopje Over Macedonia Renaming

    The World Macedonian Congress (WMC) has said the Prespa agreement is null and void because Macedonia’s President Gjorge Ivanov has not signed the deal and it runs counter to the Macedonian people’s expressed will in two referendums. The WMC also said the Prespa agreement was nevertheless pushed for a vote in parliament by a government coalition installed in power by the United States via a "color revolution," and under threat to parliamentarians’ freedom and safety.

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    meeting, U.S. Department of State, NATO, United States, Macedonia
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