Russian money for Macedonia protests upset Greece

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras meets with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in 2015

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras meets with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in 2015 Credit Alexander Zemlianichenko Reuters

This was stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference in Brussels, the Ukrainska Pravda reported.

"We agreed to invite the government of Skopje to start accession talks".

On Wednesday, NATO leaders formally invited Macedonia to start membership talks, with the alliance, while cautioning that it can't be completed until the "name issue" is resolved.

"What we would like to see is the implementation of the agreement, that is, constitutional changes in Skopje", the official said, adding that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation hopes that citizens "see the opportunities of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership" and vote in favour at the referendum.

Under the agreement reached, Zaev said the name to be used both internationally and bilaterally would be the Republic of North Macedonia.

Greece's fragile left-right coalition under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras recently lost two lawmakers who quit in protest against the Macedonia accord, bringing his parliamentary majority to 152 out of a total of 300 seats.

That is because Athens has always been upset FYR Macedonia is too similar to a region in northern Greece called Macedonia. Greece had claimed the title Macedonia implied a territorial claim on the Greek province of the same name.

The most important condition for joining is to solve the name dispute with Greece, something Macedonia is still struggling to do despite the official agreement between the two countries.

Tzakakopoulos made the remarks after daily Kathimerini reported that Greece would expel two Russian diplomats and deny entry to two others over what it said were efforts to expand Russian influence in the country. Macedonia prime minister Zoran Zaev hailed the invitation but noted objections from Moscow.

According to high-level Greek diplomatic sources, Athens is calling for the immediate expulsion of two personnel, including the Russian Embassy official Victor Yakovlev, and the expulsion of two more.

Athens raised its concerns with Moscow and asked the diplomats on July 6 to leave Greece, the source said, adding that they were given a "reasonable period" of a few days to pack their bags.

Mevlut Cavusoglu (May-VLOOT CHA-voosh-oh-loo) insists "Turkey is a sovereign country" and says its acquisition of the S400 anti-aircraft system came only because it needed such a system and ran out of other options, such as from the United States.

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