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 PaulJohnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens Senate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges McConnell discounts quick dismissal of Trump impeachment articles: 'We'll have to have a trial' MORE (Ky.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Senators introduce bipartisan bill restricting police use of facial recognition tech Fed chief urges Congress to expand US workforce while economy still strong MORE (Utah) objecting.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Senate Foreign Relations chair: 'Best' not to pass Turkey sanctions bill 'at this moment' Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators at White House 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 MurphyOvernight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward Senate Democrat: Colleague was working on fantasy football trade instead of listening to Schumer 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 InhofeOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families GOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families 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.