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- This is a chance once in a lifetime. There is no possibility of joining NATO without an agreement on the name, Stoltenberg told reporters in Skopje, AP reported.
To believe otherwise is "absolute and complete illusion," he added.
Stoltenberg met with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to express his support for his campaign to change the name Macedonia to Northern Macedonia in a referendum on September 30th.
Zaev, referring to the results of the latest opinion polls, said he was convinced of the victory in the referendum.
Stoltenberg, along with Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska, attended a military exercise at the Ilinden barracks, the agency MIA reported.
- Your country has well-trained soldiers who are ready to participate in complex operations. Members of your army take part in a NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries, which shows that you have an army that contributes to international security - said Stoltenberg.
Sekerinska said that 4,000 Macedonian soldiers have participated in various NATO missions so far.
The referendum in Macedonia will be held on September 30, when citizens will be able to declare whether they accept the agreement of Skopje and Athens, according to which the former Yugoslav Republic would be called Northern Macedonia in the future.
VIDEO: Macedonians don't want a new name for their state:
(Telegraf.co.uk / Tanjug)