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NATO Chief Hopeful On Macedonia Membership Talks

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (file photo)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says he expects the alliance to decide at a July 11-12 summit to officially launch membership talks with Macedonia.

"I expect and I hope that NATO leaders at the summit will decide to start accession talks," Stoltenberg said on June 25.

Stoltenberg's statement comes after Macedonia settled a decades-old name dispute with EU and NATO member Greece, agreeing to rename itself North Macedonia.

In return, Athens would withdraw its objections to Skopje joining NATO and the European Union.

Greece had long called for its northern neighbor not to use the name Macedonia, arguing that it suggests claims on a northern Greek province also called Macedonia.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP