US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Gabriel Exobar told Bulgarian media online that the United States hopes that Albania and North Macedonia will begin membership negotiations with the EU later this year.
Escobar stressed that "the United States is convinced that North Macedonia and Albania made important, sometimes painful, reforms to move towards membership in the European Union."
Therefore, according to him, "the two countries deserve to start negotiations as soon as possible."
"I hope that all European countries will understand the strategic importance of allowing these two countries to start membership negotiations. "I hope that the European Union, as well as the member states individually, will recognize the strategic importance of the European integration of the Balkan states", Escobar said.