NATO chief hails 'historic occasion' as key text signed

The small Balkan country of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) took a big step Wednesday toward becoming the 30th member of NATO, the world's biggest military alliance.

In a move that marked the end of a long dispute with Greece over the country's name, and less than two decades after NATO deployed troops to the country as it teetered on the brink of civil war, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov led an "accession protocol" signing ceremony at the alliance's Brussels headquarters.

"This is a historic occasion," Stoltenberg told NATO country envoys before they put pen to paper. "We have waited for you to join our family for a long time."

He said the signing ceremony marks the start of the ratification process. Montenegro, the last country to join NATO, had to wait about a year for all members to...

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