Sekerinska expects staunch US support of Macedonia’s accession to NATO

Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska expects staunch US support of Macedonia’s accession to NATO.

Speaking Friday at a press briefing ahead of her visit to the United States, Sekersinska said that the settlement of Athens-Skopje name dispute was up to both parties.

Commenting the statement of Greek FM Nikos Kotzias that the name dispute couldn’t be settled by June, Sekerinska said Athens might prevent Macedonia’s accession to NATO.

The position ‘yes’ for EU and ‘no’ for NATO is advocated by Russia, Sekerinska said, notifying that current situation is most favorable for Macedonia to be invited to join NATO. Any delay may alter the situation on the ground, she said, pointing out that elections were to take place in both Macedonia and Greece next year.

During her visit to US on April 26-May 2, Sekerinska will meet with US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis.  The meeting is expected to affirm the US-Macedonia strategic partnership. It is all the more significant because it takes place ahead of the Brussels NATO Summit in July, when Macedonia expects a membership invitation.

Sekersinska is also scheduled to meet Laura Cooper, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, and will hold talks with officials of the US Department of State, Senate and Congress.

During a visit to Vermont, Sekerinska is set to meet the Vermont National Guard Commander, Major General Steven Cray. The Macedonian Army (ARM) has been fostering a comprehensive cooperation with the Vermont National Guard, being its partner in the reform and development of the armed forces, the Ministry of Defense says.