NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov spoke at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, following the signing of the NATO accession protocol with the future Republic of North Macedonia.

Representatives of all 29 NATO members signed the protocol, which will make the Republic of North Macedonia NATO’s 30th member should it be ratified by each state.

“With you joining NATO there will be 30 countries committed to protect [ing] each other. Your accession will bring more stability to the Western Balkans. This is good for the region. And for Euro-Atlantic security,” said Stoltenberg, commenting on the signing of the accession protocol.

The development comes not long after the parliaments in both Skopje and Athens ratified a deal to rename the country from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia, paving the way for its possible accession to NATO. The deal was met with protests in both countries.