Ivanov to Mattis: NATO and EU membership remains country’s highest strategic goals

The membership in NATO and EU remains Macedonia’s strategic goals and highest priorities that will contribute to progress and prosperity of the entire region, President Gjorge Ivanov said at Monday’s meeting with US Defence Secretary James Mattis.

Ivanov highlighted that the Republic of Macedonia remains stable strategic partner to the USA and will continue to urge for the security, freedom and democratic progress of the region and will actively contribute to joint activities in the fight against terrorism and other threats on the global level, Ivanov’s Office told.

Ivanov and Mattis exchanged opinions on current political developments in Macedonia, country’s Euro-Atlantic perspectives and bilateral cooperation between two countries in the sphere of defence and security.

Ivanov thanked for the US support to Macedonia aimed at promoting defence and security reforms, both in terms of financial, practical and technical support through participation in joint trainings, exercises and missions. He expressed satisfaction with the cooperation with the Vermont National Guard.

“Although we are not NATO member, our army is NATO compatible and for that we are thankful to the US. It is investment in the future. We must be prepared for new threats and new challenges,” Ivanov said.

He also noted that Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM) with its professionalism and highly ranked combat readiness is a proven NATO partner and continuously contributes in the NATO’s international peacekeeping missions.

Intensifying and improving the overall bilateral relations with the US are of long-term interest for the Republic of Macedonia, Ivanov said.

Ivanov and Mattis also exchanged views on the challenges and expectations for the future of the region of Southeast Europe, Ivanov’s Office press release reads.