Reeker: The country is on the right track, the opposition to engage in the processes

 Through the Prespa Agreement, North Macedonia showed an example of courageous solutions to the problems and the ability to move towards a positive and bright future. The United States express admiration for what you and your country have achieved. The country should continue in that spirit, while the opposition to engage in the processes. The country should support the rule of law and to show that no one is above the law, US Acting Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker said after the meeting with PM Zoran Zaev.

He expected the country to be welcomed soon as 30th NATO member state at the London Summit and to receive a date to launch EU accession negotiations in the autumn. The United States, as he said, although not part of the EU, continuously supports North Macedonia on that road, but also encourages the state to get the long-awaited negotiation date in the bilateral meetings with the member states.

“You have achieved a lot and you have to meet the given criteria,” he added.

“At today’s meeting with Prime Minister Zaev we underlined the importance of approval of the law on public prosecution. We have a good basis in the proposal and I am looking forward to its approving. I hope this process will end quickly together with the opposition. I hope that the opposition, not only here but also in other countries, will be vital for their future. This is a great moment for everyone to join together and complete the process,” Reeker said.

At the same time, he added, you need to ensure that the investigations are transparent, because the citizens respect that. It should show the citizens that the rule of law is crucial and nobody is above the law, Reeker added.

Zaev voiced satisfaction that North Macedonia is soon to become 30th NATO member state, which as he said, is one of country’s strategic commitments. He said that so far, 21 countries have ratified the NATO accession protocol, and the United States said they have begun this process in their Senate and expects that this procedure will be successfully completed in September or October.

Zaev believes that the country will soon receive the long-awaited date for the start of the negotiations, highlighting the exceptional US support to our EU integration bid.

“Indications show that long-awaited decision to start the negotiations will happen in October. No one wants new disappointments and betrayed promises, either in the EU, at home or in the region. No one wants chance for increased influence on the ill-intentioned sides in the country and the region to open. Everyone expects the acknowledgment of fulfilled democratic reforms on the best possible solution, the issue of the neighbours and the commitment of our country to be part of the western democratic world,” Zaev said.

The Government is fully committed to the EU’s reform agenda, delivering a concrete result in four areas as requested by the EU Council conclusions in 2018 in cooperation with the opposition, he said, expressing readiness to adopt the public prosecution law together with the opposition.

“We are open and we are constantly repeating this, as to the last joint step forward with the opposition in the adoption of the draft law on public prosecution office to show the international community that we are united when it comes to our strategic interests,” Zaev noted.

Earlie today, the US Acting Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker also met with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.

“Your visit happens at a very important time for the country and only one day after the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee ratified North Macedonia’s NATO Accession Protocol. The US support to North Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration was and remains crucial in achieving long-term stability, further democratization and prosperity of the country and the region,” Dimitrov said.

Reeker pointed out that the Republic of North Macedonia and the United States “are launching a new stage in their relations and cooperation as allies in the Alliance,” stressing that North Macedonia is on the right track.

He underlined the need of continuing reforms aimed at strengthening the country’s overall capacity, including the sphere of judiciary and fight against corruption. Reeker reaffirmed the strong US support in achieving North Macedonia’s strategic goals – EU and NATO membership and the support of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is another confirmation for that, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

Dimitrov and Reeker also discussed about the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and elaborated the issues related to the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Republic of North Macedonia. They exchanged views on the current political situation in the country and in the region. They assessed bilateral relations as extremely strong and friendly, based on strategic partnership and cooperation in many important areas. They expressed mutual interest for a permanent political dialogue and further improvement of the overall cooperation.

The US senior official left for Tetovo to meet with DUI leader Ali Ahmeti at party’s headquarters.

Reeker will also meet with President Stevo Pendarovski, Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi and other government officials, as well as opposition MPs.