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Senate votes for North Macedonia to join NATO

Senate votes for North Macedonia to join NATO
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The Senate on Tuesday voted in support of North Macedonia joining NATO, paving the way for the Balkan country to become part of the alliance.

Lawmakers voted 91-2 to make North Macedonia NATO’s 30th member, with only Republican Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Hillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech Senate panel greenlights sweeping China policy bill MORE (Ky.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill Senate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage MORE (Utah) objecting.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim RischJim Elroy RischSenate panel greenlights sweeping China policy bill Pompeo joins GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill to introduce Iran sanctions act GOP lawmakers block Biden assistance to Palestinians MORE (R-Idaho) said the vote “lays out a template that we show all the Europeans that they’re welcome, that the door is open, that we want them to join NATO.”

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“The Russians hate this sort of thing, they absolutely hate an increase in the size of NATO, but we want the Europeans to be encouraged,” Risch told reporters Tuesday.

Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyWe need laws to stop gun violence, but we need to stop glorifying it, too Senators in the dark on parliamentarian's decision Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents MORE (D-Conn.) called the vote “a signal of Congress’s commitment to stand with our allies to fight the Kremlin’s efforts.”

 

For more than a decade the small nation has sought to become part of NATO, but Greece since 2008 has blocked its membership bid over the country’s then-name of Macedonia.

Greece claimed that the name implied territorial control of a northern Greek region of the same name.

Athens and then-Macedonia finally came to an agreement that the latter would change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, and in 2018, NATO members and North Macedonia signed an agreement on the switch, allowing it to finally gain membership.

Previously part of Soviet ally Yugoslavia, North Macedonia, was formally invited by NATO in July 2018 to start accession talks and 22 countries have since ratified its accession. Once the remaining seven NATO members also vote in favor, the country can join.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeTop general concerned about Afghan forces after US troops leave Harris casts tiebreaking vote to advance Biden nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause MORE (R-Ok.) urged other NATO partners to complete the ratification process quickly.

"Expanding and strengthening our alliances, like those with NATO countries, is key to our national security," Inhofe said in a statement.