“Macedonia’s President Gorge Ivanov has decried an agreement that would change the country’s name to end a long-standing dispute with Greece, calling on his compatriots to boycott the vote on the deal that takes place on September 30.

President Ivanov said he would not vote in the referendum, saying the deal with Greece is “harmful and defeating” for Macedonia, according to a statement released by his office on Sunday.

Ivanov made the comments during a speech to members of the Macedonian diaspora in Detroit, Michigan, on Saturday.” (Al-Jazeera)

In a VOA interview, he said, ‘There is no other alternative. I am an optimist primarily because I know my people. They have a history of making smart decisions and this one will be no different.’

Zaev said he wants Macedonia to soon become the 30th member of NATO in order to secure peace, economic prosperity and security for his country, and that Washington strongly supports Macedonia’s NATO aspirations.

‘The message was sent yet again that America stands firmly beside Macedonia as an unwavering strategic partner,’ Zaev told VOA Macedonian in an exclusive interview following his meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday.” (VoA)

“NATO’s door is open for Macedonia but only its people can decide to walk through it, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told citizens of that country in a video message published online.

‘It is now time to make your voices heard. This is once in a lifetime opportunity. NATO’s door is open but only the people of your country can decide to walk through it. So your future is in your hands. We wait for you in NATO,’ Stoltenberg said.” (N1)