U.S. Defense Secretary warns of Russian meddling in Macedonia referendum

U.S. Defense Secretary warns of Russian meddling in Macedonia referendum

Speaking on the plane en route to Skopje, Mattis said it was up to the Macedonians to decide whether they wanted the change, which could open important doors for this country of 2.1 million.

Macedonians will vote September 30 on whether to approve the new name of North Macedonia is an effort to placate Greece, which has for years blocked Macedonia's path to NATO and the European Union.

"I do not have proof of any Russian influence here. the Russian Federation is a friend of Macedonia, and Russia has nothing against Macedonia's integration into the EU, but it is against our integration into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and they say it very clearly", Prime Minister Zaev said at the "EU-Western Balkans: Media Days" event.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who arrived in Skopje on Monday, said on the eve of his arrival that "there is no doubt" that "Moscow has financed pro-Russian groups" to make sure that the referendum, to be held this month, fails.

"We don't want to see Russian Federation doing there what they have tried to do in so many other countries", he said.

The Greek government had received evidence that suggested the Russians tried to undermine the name deal made between Greece and Macedonia, with the diplomats in question taking the heat for the accusations.

In June, NATO invited Macedonia to begin accession talks with the alliance, but said it would have to change its constitution and adopt the new name first. Macedonia has a few dozen troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led mission.

"We also appreciate your offer to host USA forces at the Krivolak training area in your country", the secretary said.

With Russia imposing itself so harshly on the referendum campaign, there have been reports of Greek businessmen connected to the Russian administration seeking to "commit acts of violence" against pro-referendum campaigners.

Evelyn Farkas, an expert on the region who is a fellow with the Atlantic Council and a former Defense Department adviser, said Mattis' visit to the tiny nation could help sow support for the name change.

"I think Mattis could make or break this thing by delivering a strong message to the opposition which has been grudgingly quiet, that they need to come out in full-throated support, because they're not going to get another chance later", said Farkas.

On arrival, Mattis - the first U.S. defence chief to visit Skopje since 2004 - met his Macedonian counterpart Radmila Sekerinska and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who struck the name-change deal with Greece. "He can tell them this is their last chance". In Greece the nationalist circles have spoken out against the agreement with the Macedonians.

The United States spends almost $5 million a year in security assistance towards Macedonia and since 1991 has provided about $750 million in total assistance.

Polls indicate Macedonians will likely back the deal, but it's not clear if turnout will meet the required 50 percent for the vote to be valid.

Related News:

  • Is Hurricane Florence More Dangerous Because of Climate Change?

    Is Hurricane Florence More Dangerous Because of Climate Change?

    They cite basic physics, the most recent research about storms and past studies and put them together for something like Florence. For the first time, researchers have calculated the impact of climate change on a hurricane before the storm is over.
    Arsenal news; Emery says Bernd Leno to make debut vs Vorskla

    Arsenal news; Emery says Bernd Leno to make debut vs Vorskla

    Ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash between Arsenal and Vorskla Poltava , Sports Mole looks at how the Gunners could line up. Petr Cech admits he's playing for his future at Arsenal . "The first decision for me in every match is about the performance".

    Galaxy A7 (2018) is Samsung\'s first triple-rear-cam phone

    In the United States , some network operators are ready to flip the switch on 5G for consumers late this year. The Samsung Galaxy A9 Star Pro is also said to have a dedicated Bixby button and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Mercedes-AMG A35 finally revealed with 225 kW

    Mercedes-AMG A35 finally revealed with 225 kW

    This shade has never really been associated with AMG cars before this and highlight's the A35's more youthful appeal. Mercedes-AMG has unveiled a new entry-level auto that not only looks very cool, it packs performance as well.
    One Plus is developing its First Smart TV! ONEPLUS TV

    One Plus is developing its First Smart TV! ONEPLUS TV

    With OnePlus now emerging as a challenger in the TV industry, TV giants like Sony and Samsung could face some serious competition. For example, their current offering, the OnePlus 6 , can take on the iPhone X in terms of performance at a $530 selling price.
    Get flu shot now — CDC urges

    Get flu shot now — CDC urges

    Last year, seasonal influenza hit epidemic levels for 16 straight weeks and more than 700,000 people were hospitalized. Have a needle phobia? If children don't get sick themselves, they can't spread the flu.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May: There will be no second Brexit referendum

    Prime Minister Theresa May: There will be no second Brexit referendum

    But the path to the seems far from clear, with the European Council President, Donald Tusk , warning the UK's proposals will need to be reworked.
    Cholera in Zimbabwe: state media says death toll has risen to 28

    Cholera in Zimbabwe: state media says death toll has risen to 28

    Authorities admire banned public gatherings in town as a health measure, forcing the opposition MDC occasion to call off a first-rate rally on Saturday.
    Cryptocurrency Exchanges At Risk Of Manipulation

    Cryptocurrency Exchanges At Risk Of Manipulation

    The attorney general concludes the report with a list of eight questions that exchanges should be able to confidently answer. Now, after months of investigation, the New York Attorney General's office has made its findings public.
  • Colleagues Describe Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford as Honest and Rigorous

    Colleagues Describe Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford as Honest and Rigorous

    He said Monday the committee would hold a public hearing early next week to "provide ample transparency ". She says he pinned her to a bed and clamped his hand over her mouth when she attempted to scream.
    Mavs' Cuban to donate $10 million after probe into workplace harassment

    Mavs' Cuban to donate $10 million after probe into workplace harassment

    The NBA issued a statement summarizing the investigation's findings, which said that there was no wrongdoing on Cuban's part. He was praised by former NBA Commissioner David Stern and served as the Mavericks' alternate governor with the league.

    Donald Trump to Carolina Storm Victims: 'Our Hearts Break for You'

    Officials says "danger still immediate" as record flooding continues to plague parts of the USA state. Elsewhere on River Drive, the president chatted with residents who had lost their homes.


Most liked

Air Force secretary wants 25 percent more squadrons
The last time the US created a new military service was in 1947 when the Air Force was established as an independent service. Air Force would have almost as many operational squadrons as it did during the Cold War.

Netflix Releases Trailer For The Haunting of Hill House Series
Gugino is next slated to star in The Swinging Lanterns Stories with Rebecca Romijn, set for release in December. A modern adaptation: Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House debuts on the streaming service October 21.

Nintendo Switch games just got a huge advantage for multi-console owners
If you are a Nintendo Switch Online member, you can now pre-order the controllers. Any user account on the primary console can play digitally-purchased titles.

Amazon could open 3,000 cashierless Go stores by 2021
By rolling out 3,000 Amazon Go stores, Amazon would quickly become one of the biggest chains in the US, Bloomberg said. Shoppers scan the Amazon Go app on the mobile devices as they enter the Amazon Go store in Seattle , Washington.

Alibaba Pulling Back on Million US Job Proposal Due to Trade War
In the Xinhua interview , Ma said Alibaba "will not stop promoting the healthy development of China-US trade". The 54-year-old former teacher repeated his desire to pursue a new career, likely in the field of education.

Machines to Handle More Than Half Workplace Tasks by 2025
It also estimates that while that trend could displace 75 million jobs globally by 2022, it'll create 133 million new positions. Humans will account for the remaining 58% of the work, down from the current task hours of 71%, wrote the WEF.

U.S. storm evacuees wait as floodwaters rise
Classen said hog farmers draw down lagoon water levels during hurricane seasons, which allows the open pits to absorb heavy rains. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc .

FDA: Teen Vaping Is An Epidemic
The data come from the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which includes more than 20,000 students nationwide. The survey involved almost 20,700 middle and high school students from both public and private institutions.

Cristiano Ronaldo left the field in tears after questionable red card
The former Inter Milan defender went down, and Ronaldo reacted angrily - appearing to grab his hair, sparking a mini-brawl. Little matter, as the decision stood and Ronaldo walked back to the dressing room with tears in his eyes, visibly shaken.

Russian Federation to study Israeli data related to downed plane
Ronen Manelis expressed his regret over the downing of the plane but placed the blame exclusively on the Assad regime . Putin accepted Israel's offer to share detailed information on the airstrike, the Kremlin said Wednesday. -Gen.

Trump pledges strong federal support for hurricane-stricken Carolinas
In South Carolina, floodwaters heavily affected some crops, Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers told Southern Farm Network . Heavy flooding from Hurricane Florence is causing a pig poop problem in North Carolina. "Our state took a gut punch, Mr.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma says US-China tariff war could last 2 decades
He announced last week that he will step down from Alibaba in a year's time, handing over the reins to CEO Daniel Zhang . He has expressed a desire to follow in the philanthropic footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

OnePlus 6T and Type-C Bullets Headphones Teased by Amazon India
The page doesn't mention the official launch date but interested users can stay updated by tapping on the "Notify Me" button. Also, compared to the current flagship, the OnePlus 6T will not have a fingerprint sensor on the back.

PUBG PlayStation 4 Rated In Korea; Announcement Could Be Imminent
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if there's any substance to this, and if PUBG really is coming to the PlayStation 4.

NASA's planet hunter shares first image
NASA has released the first image from its new space telescope, called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS ). TESS managed to grab the image by using all of its four cameras for a 30-minute period on Tuesday, August 7th.