15 Jan 2018 12:58

Macedonia name problem is attempt to bring it into NATO - Lavrov

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) - The dispute about Macedonia's name derives from the attempt to bring the country into NATO, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference devoted to a review of the year 2017 in Moscow on Monday.

"As to the resumed negotiations and intensified efforts to solve the problem of Macedonia's name, those efforts were semi-dormant for a very long period and intensified only when the United States decided that Macedonia should join NATO," Lavrov said.

"Greece is already in NATO, which means it doesn't need any concessions, while concessions are needed from Macedonia, which they are trying to draw into NATO," Lavrov said.

Macedonia was formally declared an EU candidate in late 2005, but its admission was suspended after Greece vetoed Macedonia's entry into the EU and NATO in 2008. Greece has been blocking Macedonia's membership in the two organizations and pushing for a change of the country's name in order to avoid its confusion with the Greek region of Macedonia. The Greek administration believes that the name of Macedonia could lead to Skopje's making territorial claims.