Shekerinska and Gjurchinovski on meetings with the NATO Commander – Naples Command, Admiral Foggo: We are convinced that in 2019 Macedonia will be at the table with the other NATO Allies

Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska and the Chief of General Staff of the ARM, Major General Vasko Gjurcinovski, met today with the Commander of the Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Admiral James Foggo, who is in a visit of the Republic of Macedonia.

Shekerinska stressed the long-standing cooperation between the MOD and ARM and the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples which contributed to Macedonia being ready to become the 30th NATO member state.

“We are convinced that at the beginning of 2019, Macedonia will be at the table together with all the allies, member states in the Alliance, and then with the successfully ratified process we will be the 30th member of the NATO Alliance”, said Shekerinska and expressed appreciation for the commitment of the Joint Command in Naples and the NATO Liaison Office in Skopje in support of the reforms and the development of the Army.

“As a responsible command for NATO’s forces for Kosovo, KFOR, I can say that with the same commitment as thus far, Macedonia will continue to provide all the support. As in our meeting, I will confirm here as well our readiness to begin with the operational support of KFOR forces with staff officers from the ARM. We see this as a chance to contribute to NATO and as a chance to enrich our regional cooperation”, Minister Shekerinska said after the meeting. She added that Macedonia continues and intensifies its presence and participation in the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan, because we firmly believe in the values ​​of the Alliance, and they are that peace, stability and security in the world have a positive impact on each country, on Macedonia, on Europe.

The Commander of the Joint Command in Naples noted that NATO appreciates the exceptional progress that the state has made in the past period and said that the time has come for Macedonia to become a member state of the Alliance. Admiral Foggo added that NATO members are committed to collective defence and security that will promote Macedonia’s stability. He pointed out that the NATO Liaison Office, as well as the Naples Command, will continue to support the country and the Army in defence reform efforts.

The reputation of your forces is indeed at an enviable level and it is always good for them to be in our operations and missions, the Admiral told members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia. He expressed gratitude for the professional contribution of ARM forces in Afghanistan and expressed satisfaction that Macedonia is considering to increase its contribution in this country.

Minister Shekerinska, referring to the results in the democratic and defence reforms, stressed that Macedonia and the citizens, although faced with serious challenges, showed that they want to live in a democratic, free, stable and prosperous country.

“Macedonia was called the only ray of hope in Europe this year, because with courage and decisiveness we decided to deal with the problems … With wise and courageous decisions we are continuing on the road to NATO, which is now more than ever close to its completion”, Shekerinska said. She added that this year’s invitation at the NATO summit, the initiated and successfully completed accession talks, showed that Macedonia knows, can and is determined to fulfil its strategic goals.

Shekerinska said that Macedonia also showed wisdom in defence reforms – we increased the defence budget in 2018, and we are doing this in 2019 as well, we successfully completed the Strategic Defence Review and we have already started with its implementation.

During the meeting between the Chief of General Staff of the ARM, Major General Vasko Gjurchinovski, with Admiral James Foggo, the cooperation thus far was confirmed with the NATO Allied Joint Force Command Naples, where they discussed the participation and professionalism of ARM members in the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan, as well as for using the capacities of Military Range Krivolak.