Painter: NATO should be ashamed that does not allow admission of qualified partner due to isolated dispute

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U.S. and European countries have reduced their interest in the expansion of NATO, mainly because the Balkan region is considered relatively stable.

Macedonia remains the best prepared for NATO admission and it needs to happen at the summit in Britain, according to the International Court of Justice, says Sally Painter, Director of consulting company Blue Star Strategies in Washington, which advised numerous European countries for admission NATO.

Painter, former trade adviser in the administration of President Bill Clinton, today works with many foreign countries in their relations with NATO, as well as companies and political parties in their engagements in the United States. Good expert on the region of the Balkans and Eastern Europe, Painter believes that at the upcoming NATO summit in Britain may open the question of NATO enlargement.

– In the past year, we have lack of leadership by the United States and the European Union regarding the strategic direction of the Alliance, as well as other multilateral groups. Balkans and Eastern Europe are seen as relatively stable, which, in the eyes of the creators of American foreign policy reduced the urgency for the need to expand NATO. Certainly, recent events in Ukraine and Bosnia protests can change this way of looking at things. I and others, many times before have said that NATO is an organization that is based on providing common security and prosperity among member states and its doors are always open to new members who meet the criteria and do not represent security threat to other members. Asked whether the summit will focus on the expansion, my answer is yes. Many countries have come to different stages of the process and they deserve full attention. Currently, Macedonia has met all the necessary criteria for membership in NATO and hope that the countries – members will be constructive in relation with the accession of Macedonia and will vote favorably. Additionally, I hope to see progress in the accession process of Montenegro and strategy for Georgia, Serbia, Kosovo, Ukraine, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Painter in the interview for MIA.

She also estimated that the visit of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels serves as a good reminder that Macedonia is committed to NATO and continues to support the Alliance. According to her, the name dispute is a bilateral issue that should not be mixed with the issues such as NATO enlargement, and which should be regulated by international law.

– Resuming talks between Macedonia and Greece, under the auspices of the United Nations is the key for solving the name dispute between the two countries. The judgment of the International Court of Justice, as the leading judicial organ of the United Nations, should be respected. Other Western countries like the United States and Italy, have respected ICJ judgments even though they were not in their favor, as in the cases related to violations of the Vienna Convention. Whether we will allow the Greeks to show disrespect towards NATO because of Macedonia? Organizations like NATO should be ashamed of not allowing admission of qualified, dedicated partner merely because of isolated issue that concerns only one member of the alliance. The dispute over Macedonia’s name has no meaning for the peacekeeping operations and NATO’s commitment to the security of the countries – members, said Painter.

Ahead of the summit, which will be held in September in the British city of Newport, Macedonia received support from 40 members of Congress and some of the most influential American senators for NATO membership.

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