Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Nuland: Macedonia, Bosnia to Toe US-EU Line or Face Decades in Isolation

US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland gestures as she speaks during her press conference in Tbilisi on February 17, 2015

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The US government has told Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to sign up with the European Union (EU) on its terms, or be isolated in Europe for 20 years, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Nuland acknowledged that Bosnia-Herzegovina is seriously seeking association status with the EU and in June “activated its SAA [Stabilization and Association Agreement]” with the 28-nation Union.
“The United States joins the EU, the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank in urging Bosnia-Herzegovina’s leaders to make crucial reform decisions now, or risk being left behind for another twenty years,” Nuland said in prepared remarks delivered in Dubrovnik, Croatia on Friday.
“Our message to Macedonia is equally tough,” Nuland said. “[T]he major political forces must stop squabbling and get on the path to democratic reform sketched out by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn with US support, and then move on to settle the name issue with Greece.”
However, Nuland continued, “politicians continue to put ethnic and party interests ahead of the basic social, economic and political reform needed to advance.”
For EU as well as NATO membership, Macedonia has already satisfied the conditions to begin membership negotiations. However, the main reason negotiations have not started is the demand by Greece for Macedonia to change its name — a unique condition that many in Macedonia say was put forth to negate the Macedonian national identity, which is why the Macedonians have almost universally rejected it over potential EU membership.
Nuland is a former chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott under US President Bill Clinton. She also served as principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as US ambassador to NATO.

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