Средба на министерот за надворешни работи Бујар Османи со рускиот амбасадор Сергеј Баздникин; Фото: МНР

After Bulgaria and Romania, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday commented on Macedonia’s membership in NATO. Instead of “North Macedonia”, in the answers to the questions of the program “Weekly Time” on the state Russian television “First Channel”, he named the country as “Macedonia”.

Asked about NATO’s enlargement with new member states and whether it was possible to talk about a global turnaround with a new confrontation, or whether Washington’s line had not changed too much and friendship had never been envisaged, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said:

“The most popular topic now is whether NATO members (and the countries that want to join them) have the right to make appropriate decisions without asking anyone else in the Euro-Atlantic region. A number of articles have appeared in reputable American scientific journals on, among other things, this aspect. One of the authors states Article 10 of the Washington Treaty establishing the North Atlantic Alliance – NATO Member States may invite (or not invite) any European country that is not a Member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and may contribute to the security of the Alliance. Here’s what it’s all about. Their right is not just “I invite whom I like” – they need to see how much this country will improve the security to the union itself. They accepted countries with whose people we have good relations – Montenegro, Macedonia. American authors ask: how did this strengthen NATO security? What contribution do these countries make to the security of the bloc, given their military and military-technical resources?”

Such a statement by Sergei Lavrov was published on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and today it was re-published in Macedonian on Facebook and by the Russian Embassy in Skopje.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani today held a meeting with the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the country, Sergey Bazdnikin.

As reported by the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting focused on developments in and around Ukraine. Minister Osmani called for de-escalation of the situation and finding a solution through dialogue and diplomatic means of communication, and reiterated the view that North Macedonia respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within the internationally recognized borders.

At the same time, Minister Osmani emphasized that our membership in NATO is a significant foreign policy achievement of the country, which is an expression of our sovereign decision adopted unanimously in the Parliament in 1993. North Macedonia’s membership in the NATO Alliance is a guarantee for our security, and also contributes to the wider regional security and safety. Minister Osmani added that NATO is an alliance for the collective defence of member states and does not pose a threat to the Russian Federation or any other country in the world.

Minister Osmani reaffirmed the call to the Russian Federation for an open dialogue within the NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE in order to promote European security, which is in the common interest of all.

At the meeting between Minister Osmani and Ambassador Baznikin, the role of North Macedonia as part of the OSCE Troika and the future chairmanship of the OSCE in 2023 were also discussed.