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Friday, September 21, 2018, 

Kupchan: Referendum, historic turning point for Macedonia

Kupchan: Referendum, historic turning point for Macedonia

Washington, 16 September 2018 (MIA) - Charles Kupchan, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor of international affairs in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, says the coming referendum is a historic turning point for Macedonia.

In an interview with MIA, Kupchan says a successful referendum will open the doors for Macedonia's NATO accession and accelerate the country's Euro-Atlantic integration.

"A referendum success would be a big step forward not only for Macedonia, but the wider region too. Macedonia has a lot of homework, such as enhancement of democratic institutions, advancement of the economy, uprooting corruption and consolidation of pluralism management. I am convinced that the whole region will eventually integrate in NATO and EU. Macedonians cannot miss out on this chance," says Kupchan.

He adds that a negative outcome of the referendum is not an option.

"The Athens-Skopje name dispute should have been solved a long time ago. The Balkans needs to move forward," notes Kupchan.

Regarding the NATO accession, he says it brings political and economic benefits, but also increased security.

"Moscow has worked hard on blocking the NATO enlargement process, most recently in Montenegro. Moscow is now trying to do this in Macedonia, but I am sure it will not succeed. Once the Balkan is integrated in Euro-Atlantic institutions, the Russian influence will shrink dramatically," says Kupchan. ik/12:38

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