“We are here on the Distinguished Visitors Day for the Saber Guardian exercise, where 22 NATO member states and partner countries are participating. This is a chance to show that the ARM and Macedonia deserve to be considered NATO partners, and that Macedonia deserves NATO to continue the open door policy”, Minister Shekerinska said.
She added that Macedonia remains committed to improving the stability and security in the region and beyond, as well as improving the conditions, equipment and capacities of the Army. “We will do everything for our country to become a NATO member state”, Minister Shekerinska concluded.
“Saber Guardian 17″ is the largest exercise in the Black Sea region that is conducted in three countries – Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, participated by 25,000 members of the Armed Forces of 22 NATO and partner countries. At the exercises in Romania, 57 members of the ARM are participating in the composition of the US Army Europe, including 40 members of the Military Police Battalion as part of the US Army’s 709th Military Police Battalion, 8 members of the Engineering Battalion in the composition of the 2nd Engineering Squadron of the US Army and 9 members of the Balkan Medical Task Forces within the 30th Medical Brigade of the US Army. The Military Police Battalion will perform tasks of securing a convoy for crossing a river, while the Engineering Battalion will participate in the construction of the crossing. The members of the Balkan Medical Force are part of the medical support with the installation and operation of a ROLE-2 light field hospital.
The participation of ARM members on the military exercise Saber Guardian 17, whose aim is training by armed forces to support the stability and security of the Black Sea region and their participation in the composition of the units of the US Army is a confirmation of the strategic cooperation between the armies of Macedonia and the United States and recognition of the high level of military professionalism of the Macedonian Army. The continuous cooperation with the armies of NATO member states and partner countries and the participation in military exercises such as Saber Guardian 17 is also a demonstration of the readiness of the ARM to participate shoulder to shoulder with Allied forces in joint operations to strengthen security in the region and increase interoperability for participation in NATO’s existing and future operations.
The exercise demonstrates the readiness to use credible collective defence that includes computer supported exercises, field training and live fire exercises.
Minister Shekerinska also held a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Defence of Romania, Adrian Țuțuianu, the first between the Ministers of Defence of both countries after ten years.
Both ministers discussed the promotion and intensification of defence co-operation, strengthening the capacities of the ARM to comply with NATO standards. Minister Shekerinska stressed that Romania’s support for Macedonia’s NATO membership is particularly significant and that Macedonia’s accession to the Alliance will contribute to strengthening the security and stability of the region.
Minister Țuțuianu reiterated the open and unreserved support of Romania for Macedonia to receive an invitation for membership as soon as possible. He welcomed the participation of members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia in the international peacekeeping missions and said that he appreciates the role of Macedonia as a factor of stability in the region.
The two ministers also discussed the concrete activities for implementation of the Bilateral Cooperation Plan, as well as continuing the positive experiences in the cooperation in the training of ARM members in Romania, but also for the use of ARM capacities, such as Military Range Krivolak and the Public Affairs Regional Centre, for the training of personnel from the Army of Romania.
The Macedonian delegation, led by Minister Shekerinska, is also composed of Brigadier General Mirche Gjorgoski and the Commander of the Military Police Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Vasko Kokolanski.
It is particularly important for Macedonia that after the completion of the Saber Guardian 17 exercise, about 300 members of US Army Europe will arrive in Macedonia with over 100 engineering vehicles and equipment from Romania, where the military exercise “Dragoon Guardian 17″ will be conducted on Military Range Krivolak from 28 July to 8 August.