Russia, Greece spat and diplomatic tit-for-tat

Putin Trump summit

Putin Trump summit

On Wednesday, NATO leaders formally invited Macedonia to start membership talks, with the alliance, while cautioning that it can't be completed until the "name issue" is resolved.

The expulsions were confirmed the day after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally invited Macedonia to join the western military alliance pending the agreement's successful completion.

Greece has a province called Macedonia, and argued that the former Yugoslav state's name implied territorial ambitions against Greece.

Rejection of the deal inside Greece is, among others, coming from the seven MPs inside Independent Greeks (ANEL), the small rightwing nationalistic party in a governing coalition with the left wing Syriza, headed by Greece's prime minister, Alexis Tsipras.

Tzanakopoulos did not reveal the "measures" or give further details after a newspaper reported Greece was planning to expel two Russian diplomats and ban two other Russian envoys from entering the country.

The agreement on the renaming of Macedonia was reached with Greece on June 16, but on the threshold of a new phase for the country President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov has made a decision to cancel the signing of the document, citing concern for national security of its people.

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The Macedonian-Greek dispute, which emerged after Macedonia declared independence from former Yugoslavia back in 1991, concerns Greece's objection to the use of the name Macedonia.

"It is my urgent need and I tried to buy from many other countries - including China, but I get the best deal from Russian Federation, and I bought it", Cavusoglu said. "We warmly welcomed last month's historic agreement between Athens and Skopje", he added. That includes a referendum, which is set to take place later this year.

The NATO invitation constitutes a critical political lifeline for Zaev, especially now that the start of the country's protracted European Union accession negotiations has been delayed until next year.

Asked about the possibility of another member state, possibly the Netherlands or France, failing to ratify, the official said that it was strongly assumed that since all member countries agree that accession talks should start, they bore responsibility to ratify the agreement.

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