Sekerinska: Macedonia is а credible NATO partner

Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska expects changes in Macedonia and fulfillment of the most of the important tasks to be verified at the forthcoming NATO Summit in July in Brussels.

Sekerinska said that Macedonia is credible NATO partner, rightfully expecting to become its 30th member and the most of criticisms presented from previous summits are no longer considered as a weakness.

“We have shown that Macedonia has taken great steps forward in the part of democratic reforms, rule of law, media situation, administration and political relations, and it gives us the right to expect this change in the country to be verified, confirmed and acknowledged by all NATO member states,” Sekerinska said at Tuesday’s press conference on NATO Military Partnerships Coordination Workshop, which is hosted by the Republic of Macedonia this year.

I hope, Sekerinska underlined, that NATO will recognise decisive commitment and firm political will of the government and the majority of the citizens in Macedonia in achieving strategic priority for NATO membership, which remained unchanged even in the most difficult moments and the deepest crisis in Macedonia in the past.

Since the beginning of the year, the government has shown concrete steps for being a partner on which NATO can rely, the defence budget, the salaries of military personnel and participation in NATO-led missions have been increased while the preparation of the Strategic Defence Review will be completed by mid-2018.

“With our commitment and with the engagement of the armed forces in peacekeeping missions, Macedonia shows to be a credible partner and because we have what to offer to the Alliance. And for these reason we believe that Macedonia rightfully expects and works on becoming the 30th NATO member,” Sekerinska said.

Deputy Chief of Staff of Military Partnerships Directorate at NATO Maj. Gen. Odd Egil Pedersen said that Macedonia is highly valued NATO partner. The NATO workshop in Skopje will set the preconditions for success in 2019 for all partners with whom they cooperate.

“This conference is the most important event for us this year from aspect of Military Partnerships Directorate. Partnerships are cornerstone of NATO cooperation and non-Alliance cooperation and are crucial to be engaged in every opportunity,” Pedersen said.

Macedonia has increased its participation in NATO peacekeeping missions and according to NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir James Everard, it has made a great contribution to the activities and Macedonian army shows high level of professionalism.

“I am very impressed with your army’s professional standards and their contribution in the mission. Of course, you can always be asked to do something extra, but your contribution is excellent not only in Afghanistan, but also in Kosovo and BiH,” Everard said.

As Minister Sekerinska announced, government at today’s session is to approve sending of three more officers from Macedonia as part of the German NATO contingent in Afghanistan for four months during the elections.

180 representatives from NATO countries and partner countries participate at today’s NATO Military Partnerships Coordination Workshop. NATO-led operations and partners’ participation in these operations, harmonization of partner processes, education and training are discussed at the event.