Byrnes: North Macedonia is an example how countries should work

Time is right when it comes to the future of the Western Balkans, and North Macedonia is an example how countries should work. The road was not an easy one and is not finished yet, but it clearly shows the country’s role in the region, United States Ambassador Kate Byrnes told the Western Balkans Summit organized by The Economist in Skopje.

Ambassador Byrnes said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to send this message during his visit to Skopje on Friday.

“North Macedonia’s accession as NATO’s 30th member, once the ratification protocol process ends, will also be highlighted,” said Byrnes.

The US Ambassador said the United States are focused on peace and stability in the Balkans, enabled through the courageous steps by Greece and North Macedonia in signing the Prespa Agreement, which showed other countries in the region how certain disputes re solved.

The US Ambassador noted that the agreement is already yielding results in the bilateral cooperation in the fields of defense and economy.

“The stability of this agreement, the NATO membership and the possible EU accession has shown companies where to invest. From the US perspective, the Prespa Agreement was excellent not only for the signatories but also for the region in general. North Macedonia has a long way to go in solving corruption cases, establishing the rule of law, values of democracy and stable institutions, regardless of the political winds. The U.S. remain committed to the region. We recognize and validate the importance of this region. We believe that the Prespa Agreement is a truly giant step, but you should not let up, rather continue on the path of reforms. The United States remain your trusted partner,” said Ambassador Byrnes.