“Following a three-day swing through the United States, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov says he will return home to lock in domestic support for the upcoming name referendum on which the small Balkan nation’s EU-NATO integration depends.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo followed up talks with Dimitrov by expressing strong support for the deal, signed this summer, in which Macedonia agreed to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia.

Greece and Macedonia have been feuding over who gets to use the name since Macedonia’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Many Greeks say allowing the neighboring country to use the name insults Greek history and implies a claim on the Greek territory also known as Macedonia, a key province in Alexander the Great’s ancient empire.” (VoA)

“Around seventy MPs are likely to take part in the public campaign leading up to the referendum on Sept. 30. The campaign, Parliament said, would be run through paid advertising, TV debates, as well as editorials in the press and in online media.

So far, only MPs from SDSM and their coalition partners have confirmed their participation in the campaign, which has also received some support from BESA MPs.

VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said on Saturday that, while being against the name deal with Greece, his party’s final position on the referendum was yet undefined.

As for the public campaign, Mickoski said he would suggest to his group of MPs to have their share of the funds go to a Tetovo high school instead.” (Nezavisen)

When Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Donald Trump last month why he should send his son to die defending Montenegro, NATO’s newest member, the president seemed to repudiate his own administration’s policy. He indicated that Americans shouldn’t be willing to sacrifice their lives for such a trivial ally. Furthermore, he warned that Montenegro ‘has very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War III.’ As Cato Institute senior fellow Doug Bandow pointed out, Trump’s comment was odd on two counts. First, the Senate approved the admission of Montenegro on his watch in March 2017. If he thought that latest episode of adding a useless microstate to the Alliance was unwise, he could have withdrawn the treaty from consideration before the Senate vote. Second, as Bandow notes archly, that while ‘it is theoretically possible that the vast, aggressive, powerful Montenegrin legions might launch themselves towards Moscow,’ it isn’t too likely, because Montenegrin leaders ‘do not appear to have entirely lost their minds.’

Macedonia is on much worse terms with Kosovo and that country’s ethnic brethren in Albania. Officials and the populations of both countries have long pursued a “Greater Albania” agenda that lays claim to swaths of territory in Serbia, Montenegro, and especially Macedonia. The NATO-assisted severing of Kosovo from Serbia in 1999 was the first major triumph for that agenda, and Greater Albanian expansionists wasted no time in trying to follow up on their victory. Within months, portions of Macedonia in which ethnic Albanians constituted a majority (or in some cases, just a plurality) of the population sought to destabilize that country, demanding extensive autonomy for those provinces. Both the United States and its NATO allies put intense pressure on Macedonia’s government to grant the demanded concessions, and Skopje reluctantly complied.” (National Interest)