NATO Military Committee applauds the progress of the Republic of Macedonia towards NATO membership, which is increasingly within grasp, as well as the commitments and shared values, Deputy Chairman of NATO Military Committee, Lieutenant General Stephen Shepro said in his introductory remarks at the opening of MC session here in Skopje today. This is the first visit of NATO Military Committee in the format of a regular session in Macedonia, which is being held upon invitation of Minister of Defence Radmila Shekerinska.
Deputy Chairman of NATO Military Committee welcomed the participation of ARM members in peace missions to date and the contribution provided for increasing international security. “We encourage you to continue with these reforms and we will continue to work closely with you on further developing your defence capabilities in accordance with NATO standards”, General Shepro said.
In her address to the permanent military representatives of NATO Military Committee, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Radmila Shekerinska said that the fact that this key activity of the top tier NATO military body is taking place today in Skopje is in and of itself indicative that Macedonia’s integration in the Alliance is acquiring its shape.
Today the public has the opportunity to see firsthand that NATO membership is no longer a distant and unreachable goal. We put the opportunity we lost back in 2008 back on the table and we managed to earn an invitation and a start of the accession talks with the most powerful military – political alliance of our time. Today, Macedonia is hosting the longest standing permanent NATO body after the North Atlantic Council. This body is the most important link between NATO’s political decisions and military structure. This is an overture to what our strategic goal goal means: the Republic of Macedonia being at the table where decisions for major issues of today are taken. The meeting is a message that 29 member states are united in their support for our becoming g the 30th NATO member state. The meeting is symbolic, but not a coincidence. The honour has not been granted to us, we have earned it with the numerous political reforms and results we have delivered. The Republic of Macedonia is becoming part of the community of advanced states and it already has a positive impact on our security, as well as economy, investments and quality of life. Everywhere, and especially in the Balkans, security is the only ticket for prosperity – Shekerinska said.
The Euro – Atlantic future of Macedonia has great geopolitical importance and significance and it will serve an encouragement for progress of the other aspirant countries – Minister said.
“The Army of the Republic of Macedonia is firmly committed to fulfilling the criteria for NATO membership. We worked hard, contributed to building world peace and fighting against terrorism, and our commitment today, and I believe also tomorrow, will remain unchanged – full-fledged membership in the NATO Alliance“ stated, inter alia, the Chief of General Staff of the ARM, Major General Vasko Gjurchinovski in his address.
Previously, the Minister of Defence, Radmila Shekerinska led the Macedonian delegation at the meeting with the delegation of the NATO Military Committee, led by Deputy Chairman, Lieutenant General Stephen Shepro, which was held in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia.
At the meeting, the permanent military representatives of NATO Military Committee will be briefed on the achieved level of reforms and the development of capabilities undertaken by the Army of the Republic of Macedonia in accordance with the Strategic Defence Review in order to develop more efficient professionalism and readiness to fulfill the requirements for NATO membership
This is the first visit of the Military Committee, NATO’s highest military body to Macedonia in the format of a permanent session at the invitation of Minister Shekerinska addressed to the former CMC, General Petar Pavel, who held this post from mid-2015 until June 2018.
The support of NATO Military Committee within the accession process is important as it is the primary source of military advice to the North Atlantic Council and to both strategic commanders (the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the Supreme Allied Forces Transformation Force Commander) and serves as a link between NATO’s political leaders and the two strategic commanders.
Tomorrow, MC military representatives will have the opportunity to see in Ilinden barracks the readiness and part of the equipment of some of the declared units of the Special Operations Regiment, the Medium Infantry Battalion Group, the helicopter detachment, the Military Police company, the engineering platoon and Role 2 MTF.