The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the United States of America, Matthew Palmer stated in an interview for the portal “European Western Balkans“ that he expects Russia will work against the Prespa agreement.

He also said that USA and Russia have very different ambitions in the Balkans and that the USA supports the ” integration of the region into EU and Euro-Atlantic structures, we support the rule of law European norms harmony between and amongst the nations” while “Russia’s vision of its strategic goals on the Western Balkans are built around distrusts, disorder and opposition to this integration”.

In 2016, Russia attempted to overturn government in Montenegro because it was moving towards membership in the NATO. I expect Russia to work against the Prespan Agreement in Macedonia. I except Russians to work against an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. Moscow feels that its interests are best served by friction and distrust, the US believes that our interest are best served by order and a shared understanding of common future.” said Palmer

When asked about the perspectives of NATO’s enlargement in the Western Balkans, Palmer said that the membership of Montenegro into NATO is a huge advance forward and that he looks forward to Macedonia’s future membership.

“We look forward to welcoming the country that will be North Macedonia as the 30th number in the NATO alliance,” said Palmer including “the invitation that the Alliance issued in July was clear and unambiguous” and that “there is a path to NATO membership that is open for Macedonia in relatively short order.”

Palmer also said that “it requires that the Prespan Agreement enters into force” and he has expressed hope that the Macedonian citizens will accept the Agreement on the 30th of September after which Macedonia will have to make constitutional changes, and Greece will ratify it.”

“And when the Agreement enters into force, I believe that North Macedonia will move forward quickly to NATO membership” stressed Palmer.