European and North American nations signed an accord Wednesday making Macedonia the 30th member nation of the military alliance.
Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization signed an accord with Macedonia Wednesday allowing the Balkan nation to become the 30th member of the alliance.
The accord comes a month after Macedonia, now officially known as North Macedonia, ended a 27-year-old dispute with Greece over its name.
At a formal signing of the NATO accession protocol, which now needs to be ratified by allied governments, Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said the country “will never walk alone” once in the alliance.
“We stand beside these 29 allies... able and ready to assume the obligations arising from our full membership in NATO,” Dimitrov told a news conference after NATO ambassadors signed the protocol.
The ratification process typically takes about a year, and the United States has said it expects North Macedonia to formally join the alliance in 2020.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the admittance of a new member highlighted that all European nations who met the entrance criteria could join the regional alliance, a position that Moscow rejects.
“It shows that NATO’s door remains open for countries that meet NATO standards and that adhere to the NATO values of democracy, the rule of law and individual liberty,” Stoltenberg said.
Russia says that by taking in Balkan members, the alliance is undermining security in the region.