July 18, 2018

Stoltenberg vowed to join the Alliance new member

14 July 2018, 04:17 | Glen Norman

Moscow Will Expel Two Greek Diplomats in Response to Athens

After Greece said it would kick out two Russian diplomats Russia promised to expel Greeks from the embassy in Moscow

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that despite the disagreement with the change of name of the country, many inhabitants of Macedonia, it is a requirement for joining the Alliance.

Greece is moving towards expelling two Russian diplomats, and blocking two others from entering the country, who are suspected of having been involved in an attempt to undermine the deal between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

However, recently Macedonia and Greece have resolved their disputes which opens the door for Macedonia to become the 30th member nation of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In addition, Macedonia will also hold a referendum on the deal in the autumn of 2018, Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev said in June.

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They point to the effort by Russian Federation to intervene in a sensitive domestic issue like the agreement between Greece and FYROM over the name, and by doing so negatively affect Greece's role in the Balkans. It said Athens accuses them of having tried to influence the northeastern monastic community of Mount Athos - known for its fierce patriotism - as well as local authorities in the north of the country to launch demonstrations against the agreement with Skopje. Greece had argued the name "Macedonia" implied territorial claims on its province of the same name and usurped its ancient Greek heritage.

The Greek Parliament will decide on the agreement in the coming months in a vote that will also determine the future of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' government.

Greece will expel two Russian diplomats and ban the entry of two others for meddling in its domestic affairs and illegal acts against Greece's national security, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Wednesday.

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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.

Macedonia's name has led to a dispute with Greece since Macedonia became independent with the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

Ratification in member states typically takes a year, meaning that the full process of accession will probably be concluded by the end of 2020.

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