“There is more work that can be done. We will continue to urge Prime Minister Zaev to hold all of his Government officials accountable and to make sure that regardless of the level of office, people have faith in the Government institutions and credibility in what they can do for them”.
She says the U.S. are following current developments and support a strong, independent prosecution office, believing it is important to preserve the capabilities of the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
“That will send a signal to the citizens of North Macedonia and the international community that North Macedonia is fully committed to the rule of law moving forward. It is also an important benchmark for both EU and NATO accession,” notes Byrnes.
She says the United States are looking forward to welcoming North Macedonia as the 30th member of NATO by the end of the year.
“As we become allies, we expect our partnership to grow even stronger, connected by our mutual commitment to regional peace, security and prosperity in this region and beyond. There really is no stronger bond than this. I am honored to lead the U.S. mission in what I think will be a time of positive change,” says Byrnes.
She refers to the three priorities during her term as U.S. Ambassador.
“The first is to promote stability through strong institutions, to continue to support the Government’s reform efforts and its efforts to implement the rule of law. Second, I want to seek to foster prosperity through our assistance programmes as well as through private sector partnerships. And third, of course, is to enhance our mutual security through our defense relationship,” says Byrnes.
On the U.S. Senate’s ratification of North Macedonia’s NATO Accession Protocol, she says the United States strongly support North Macedonia’s accession to the Alliance.
“The U.S. Senate’s calendar can be a little bit unpredictable, particularly in this time of the year, but we are hopeful that the Senate will move forward with the NATO ratification this summer or early this fall. In fact, North Macedonia has already proven itself to be a steadfast security partner, it has the collective will to support security in the region and it is already showing that it will be a strong NATO ally. In fact, just last month, North Macedonia was a host of the exercise ‘Decisive Strike’, which was concluding just as I arrived. ‘Decisive Strike’ was a great example about how your country is already contributing to the security of the Alliance. It is showing that out soldiers are working together already to jointly face the future threats and we look forward to seeing similar exercises and activities in the future as part of our expanding cooperation,” says Byrnes.
The Ambassador adds that the United States will continue to work with all political parties, leaders and citizens to promote a positive and constructive political dialogue.
“North Macedonia has been a strategic partner for a long time. For 25 years we have worked to support North Macedonia’s aspirations to join NATO and the EU as a stable, prosperous and inclusive democracy. And as in any democracy, it is absolutely critical that political leaders support the reforms that the people want. We will be a partner in that effort as we have been, and the United States will continue to be committed to working with all political parties, leaders and citizens throughout the country to promote a positive and constructive political dialogue. We are looking forward to having our Assistant Secretary Reeker come to the region this week, he will be in North Macedonia later this week, to meet with folks from across the political spectrum as well as citizens to head their views as well,” said US Ambassador Byrnes.