Sekerinska sends letter to 29 NATO Defence Ministers asking support for Macedonia’s membership invitation

Following the agreement reached with Greece, Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska sends letter to 29 NATO Defence Ministers asking for their support for Macedonia to be extended NATO membership invitation at the July Summit.

Sekerinska had phone conversations with some of the Defence Ministers who welcomed the reached agreement and expressed their support for Macedonia’s membership to NATO, Defence Ministry said in a press release.

In the letter to her counterparts in the Alliance, Sekerinska writes:

“I am writing to you after reaching a historic agreement on the name dispute with Greece. This obstacle to our Euro-Atlantic integration has been removed. I am asking for your support for Macedonia to receive an invitation for full membership in NATO at the upcoming Summit. It took courage, leadership and diplomacy to achieve this goal on both sides. Our people are united and unambiguous in the desire to become part of NATO and the EU, with 75 percent of our citizens favoring NATO membership.”

Sekerinska writes that Macedonia’s accession to NATO will consolidate democracy in the region, strengthen stability and security in the region and set a positive example for the Western Balkans.

She reminds that Macedonia made a major step forward in accordance with the recommendations of the NATO Summit in Warsaw in improving good neighborly and interethnic relations, the rule of law, media freedom, credible elections and the independence of the judiciary.

We will continue working on these reforms, Sekerinska writes. As an example of promoting good neighborly relations, she points out the overcoming the differences and partnership with Bulgaria and adds: “This approach was repeated in the settlement to the dispute with Greece, and we are convinced that our partnership with Athens will deepen in the coming years.”

As additional arguments for preparedness for NATO membership, Sekerinska outlines in the letter the increased defence budget and the decision for its further increase to 2 percent of GDP by 2024, the completion of Strategic Defence Review in accordance to NATO standards, participation of our troops in NATO-led missions.

“We need your support now more than ever. In accordance with the decision of NATO Summit in Bucharest in 2008, now that mutually acceptable solution on the name dispute has been reached, we expect to receive invitation for NATO membership,” Sekerinska writes.

Sekerinska spoke over the phone with German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Italian DM Elisabetta Trenta, Romanian DM Mihai-Viorel Fifor, who expressed their support for Macedonia to be extended NATO membership invitation at the NATO Summit in Brussels, Defence Ministry said in a press release.

Earlier this week, Sekerinska had phone conversations with the Defence Ministers of Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Montenegro, who delivered the same message.