SKOPJE, Macedonia — Senior NATO officials are in Macedonia to attend military demonstrations and meet top defense officials in the former Yugoslav republic that is hoping to become the 30th member of the alliance next year.

The visiting delegation is headed by U.S. Lt. Gen. Steven Shepro, deputy chairman of NATO's Military Committee, who held talks Wednesday while on a two-day visit to Macedonia. He was to attend a demonstration by Macedonian special forces in the capital, Skopje.

The country's government has proposed changing the country's name to North Macedonia to end a longstanding dispute with Greece that has blocked NATO accession.

Shepro said Macedonia has made "substantial progress" toward NATO membership. Macedonia's military is currently participating in several international missions, including in Afghanistan and Lebanon.