North Macedonia Celebrations Marking Independence Anniversary as Albania Greets It Warmly

North Macedonia on Wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of its independence from Yugoslavia with a military parade in the capital Skopje and ceremonies around the country as Albania's highest leadership greeted it on the occasion.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev led the celebrations, attending the parade that also included folk dancers, fire service rescuers, paramedics, and farmers who drove their tractors through the city center.

Macedonia - as it was then known - was the only former Yugoslav republic to leave the federation peacefully in a region struck by a decade of wars. But slow progress on reforms and a long-standing dispute with neighbor Greece over the republic’s name and ancient heritage slowed its integration with western Europe.

After reaching an agreement with Athens, the country changed its name from Macedonia to North Macedonia in 2019 and joined NATO the following year. But it's still awaiting the formal start of membership talks with the European Union.

Albanian outgoing Speaker Gramoz Ruci congratulated his counterpart Talat Xhaferri in a message on the Independence Day.

"Albanians of North Macedonia serve as friendship bridge between the two friendly people," said Ruci. /