Moscow says will respond to Greece's expulsion of Russian diplomats

Moscow Will Expel Two Greek Diplomats in Response to Athens

Moscow Will Expel Two Greek Diplomats in Response to Athens

As reported by the Reuters news agency, FYROM is expecting an invitation at the Nato summit in Brussels this week to join following its landmark deal with Greece whereby it will change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he will invite Macedonia at the upcoming summit of the Alliance in connection with the renaming of the country.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders agreed on Wednesday to invite Macedonia to begin accession talks to join the western alliance, extending its reach in the Balkans in defiance of Russian Federation.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev hailed the announcement as a "great, historic day" for his country.

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.

The name deal was signed by the foreign ministers of Macedonia and Greece Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias on June 17 in Prespes, on the Greek side of Prespa lake.

Additionally on Wednesday, Greece said it would expel two Russian diplomats suspected of involvement in rallies in the country against the Macedonian name agreement.

While the accession process is relatively long, Stoltenberg seemed to suggest that Macedonia will become a member soon after finalizing the deal with Greece. Serbia and Montenegro are much further down the road towards accession - and they have been given a target date of 2025.

"This decision is a recognition of our committed engagement over more than two decades", Zaev said. Officials in Athens said that the diplomats sent by Moscow to replace them had been refused entry.

The EU had urged Macedonia to settle its dispute with Greece and also step up the pace of domestic reforms and to cut down on corruption. That includes a referendum, which is set to take place later this year.

Asked about the possibility of another member state, possibly the Netherlands or France, failing to ratify, the official said that it was strongly assumed that since all member countries agree that accession talks should start, they bore responsibility to ratify the agreement.

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