“At its very beginnings the Army started in modest and under extremely unfavorable conditions. However, it was consolidated in a short time, and in the mid-1990s it began structural reforms in order to transform it into an army of a future NATO member … To date, this strategic goal is one of the major cohesive factors in our a society, backed by all relevant political parties, the vast majority of citizens of all ethnicities and the NGO sector and business community give strong support,” Pendarovski said.
“We have decided to accept the values of the North Atlantic Treaty which oblige us to safeguard “the freedom, the common heritage and the civilization of peoples based on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law” as the basis of the system of collective defence and protection of peace and security … The rule of law is a necessary condition for the functioning of democracy and the development of a free society. Therefore, our absolute priority is the rule of law to prevail as our highest value and to restore the public trust in the institutions and the state,” Pendarovski noted.
He pledged that as Commander-in-Chief, he would insist on improving the standard of living and professionalism of soldiers, as well as supporting defence reforms.
“One of the priorities in the reform process will be focused on the declared NATO units, and in this regard I fully support the Government’s commitment the country as a future NATO member to allocate two percent of GDP in investing in defence which I hope would to be implemented by 2024 at the latest,” Pendarovski said in his address.
Shekerinska in her address noted that the Army is celebrating its 27th anniversary in a year of success, a year in which country’s path to joining NATO has been completed.
Referring to the engagement of the Army in the past period, from all regular activities, participation in peacekeeping operations abroad, as well as emergency actions, to blood donation and rescue actions, Shekerinska underlined country’s obligation in providing the best training, the best equipment, and the continuous investment in training of soldiers and officers.
Shekerinska noted that such pledges to further equipping and modernizing the armed forces are part of the 2019-2028 long-term plan, which foresees amending key laws and introducing NATO rules aimed at modernizing the Army and improving its operational capabilities.
“Greater care, greater home budget, greater security, greater motivation. We are doing this and will continue to do, because only by investing in our security and in our capacities, we can gain confidence in ourselves and in our plans,” Shekerinska said.
Moreover, Pendarovski decorated NATO Liaison Office to Skopje and Transport Helicopter Squadron of the Aviation Brigade of the Joint Operations Command of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia with the Order of Military Merit.