Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska on a ministerial meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels

On invitation by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska participated today in a meeting of Defence Ministers of NATO member states and countries participating in the “Resolute support” mission. At the meeting, the defence ministers reviewed the security situation in Afghanistan and discussed the further development of NATO’s operation in Afghanistan, “Resolute Support”.

Minister Shekerinska stressed the commitment of the Republic of Macedonia in support of NATO’s efforts to promote the democratic capacities of Afghanistan and announced further increased contribution of the Republic of Macedonia in NATO operations.

“In the spirit of our commitment to the values we share with NATO, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia has made a decision to increase our contribution to Afghanistan in 2018 by 20 percent”, Shekerinska said.

The Minister also outlined the strategic goals of the Republic of Macedonia for NATO membership and announced a stronger pace and reforms towards meeting the criteria and standards of NATO.

“The successfully conducted elections showed that the Republic of Macedonia can deliver results. We are aware that we should earn fully-fledged membership in NATO. In that context, I assure you that the Republic of Macedonia will show progress in all areas in which the Alliance detected problems in the past. Our goal is the Republic of Macedonia to become the 30th NATO member state”, the Minister said.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Minister Shekerinska requested support for NATO membership of the Republic of Macedonia from NATO Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller; US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis; from the Ministers of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany; Ursula von der Leyen; of the Kingdom of Norway, Frank Bakke-Jensen and from the Republic of Italy, Roberta Pinotti. The Minister also met with the Minister of Defence of Montenegro, Predrag Bošković; the Republic of Albania, Olta Xhaçka, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Marina Pendeš.

On invitation of the Minister of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen, the Minister also took part in the meeting of countries that contribute with their capacities and forces to the Train Advise Assist Command – North in Afghanistan.

At the meeting, the Minister expressed gratitude for the active cooperation and support from the Federal Republic of Germany within this Command and once again expressed the Government of the Republic of Macedonia’s commitment to a long-term contribution to the preservation of peace, security and stability, not only in the Euro-Atlantic area, but beyond as well.