NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday is set to begin his first official visit to Macedonia. During his time in the country Rasmussen will meet with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanovski, Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki and Defense Minister Zoran Konjanovski.
He is also expected to pay a visit to the head of the opposition, Branko Crvenkovski of the Social Democrats and Ali Ahmeti, the head of the junior government party, the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration.
At the talks Rasmussen is expected to hear about Macedonia’s efforts to join the Alliance. Macedonia was close to joining NATO in 2008 but its invitation was blocked by neighbouring Greece, which objects to the official name of the country.
NATO has stated that as soon as the name spat is solved Macedonia will be invited to join the alliance. Skopje recently doubled its troops in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.