US official says in interview FYROM could join NATO by 2020

The United States expects the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to join NATO in mid-2020 by which time its name change deal with Greece should be fully implemented despite Russian efforts to undermine it, the top US official for the Western Balkans said on Tuesday.

Skopje's agreement to change the country name to "Republic of North Macedonia," ending perceptions that it held territorial claims to the Greek province of Macedonia, lifted a big obstacle to FYROM joining NATO and the European Union, a move the West believes would help stem Russian influence in the region.

"I don't think there is any reason not to believe that 'North Macedonia' could become the 30th member of NATO as early as 18 months from now," Matthew Palmer, US deputy assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, told Reuters in an interview in Bosnia's capital Sarajevo.


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