Sekerinska at US State Department: Macedonia is ready for NATO membership

Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska during her official to the US met with Laura Cooper, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia and senior officials of the US State Department.

Sekerinska at the meeting with Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Elisabeth Millard, explained the arguments that Macedonia deserves NATO membership – increase of budget and wages in the army, defense reform, increase of the number of troops in mission in Afghanistan, but also on broader scale – return of critical and free media, the rule of law and active transparency to which the government has obliged as one of the tools to fight the corruption, Defense Ministry said in a press release on Saturday.

Millard hailed the progress that the country has achieved only a year after the crisis events in the parliament and underlined that US is a strong friend of Macedonia which closely monitors and support the country’s progress.

Sekerinska also met with Deputy of the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Matthew Palmer, who noted that things are moving very fast in Macedonia, and the country is ready not only to become a NATO member, but also a member that actively contributes to the Alliance.

At the meeting with Laura Cooper, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, Sekerinska said that the Defence Ministry and Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM) are working hard to implement the necessary reforms, focusing on the Strategic Defence Review, which is a key document for the development of the ARM.

“The reforms in the Defence Ministry and the ARM and our results in the development of the defence show that the Republic of Macedonia deserves to be part of the NATO,” Sekerinska said.

Cooper noted that US highly praises the progress of reforms in Macedonia and commitment to strategic goal – NATO membership, and that they will closely monitor the situation in the coming months ahead of the NATO Summit.

Sekerinska in Washington also held talks with President of the International Republican Institute, Daniel Twining, and regional director for Europe at the International Republican Institute, Jan Surotchak.

The purpose of Sekerinska’s meetings in the US is providing strong US support ahead of NATO Summit in Brussels on July.

She will meet Governor of Vermont and Commander of Vermont National Guard. The Army of the Republic of Macedonia has developed and overall cooperation with the Vermont National Guard as our partner in reforms and development of armed forces.