On the second day of the official visit to the United States, Minister Radmila Shekerinska met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Laura Cooper, and with senior State Department officials.
On the meeting with the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the State Department, Elisabeth Millard, Minister Shekerinska stated her arguments why Macedonia deserves NATO membership – the increase of the budget and salaries for the Army, defence reforms, increase of soldiers in the mission in Afghanistan, but also on the broader scale – the return of critical and free media, the rule of law, the active transparency committed to by the Government as one of the tools against corruption.
The State Department’s senior official, Millard, acknowledged the progress achieved by the country only a year after the crisis in the Assembly and underlined that the United States is a strong friend of Macedonia who closely monitors and supports the country’s progress.
Minister Shekerinska also met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the State Department, Matthew Palmer, who noted that affairs in Macedonia are taking place very quickly, and the country is ready to not only be a NATO member, but a member that actively contributes to the Alliance.
On the meeting with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense of the United States, Laura Cooper, Minister Shekerinska said that the Ministry of Defence and the Army of the Republic of Macedonia are working promptly to implement the necessary reforms, focusing on the Strategic Defence Review, which is a key document for the development of the ARM.
The reform efforts in the MOD and the ARM and our results in the development of the defence show that the Republic of Macedonia deserves to be part of the NATO Alliance – Shekerinska said at the meeting.
Cooper said that the United States highly appreciates the progress of reforms in Macedonia and the commitment to the strategic goal – NATO membership, and that they will closely monitor the situation in the coming months, ahead of the Summit of the Alliance.
The minister also spoke in Washington with the President of the International Republican Institute, Daniel Twining, and the IRI Regional Director for Europe, Jan Surotchak.
The purpose of Shekerinska’s meetings in the United States is to provide strong US support in the wake of the NATO Summit.
Minister Shekerinska’s visit will continue in Vermont where she will meet with the Governor of the Federal State and with the Vermont National Guard Commander, with whom the ARM has close cooperation.