Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska and the Chief of General Staff of the ARM, Major General Vasko Gjurchinovski, held a New Year’s meeting today with the families of the ARM members who are currently part of NATO, UN and EU missions in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a video-link was established with the Macedonian peacekeepers in these missions.
“This year was very important for Macedonia, for the Ministry, for the Army. We had a large number of meetings, and for the first time in our history a NATO Secretary General visited Macedonia twice… However, if I analyze all the meetings that I had the honour to have as a Minister, my biggest impression was visiting your loved ones in Kabul, and a meeting where perhaps we all are most emotional is today, where we see very precisely how much they risk and how much sacrifices your loved ones endure”, Minister Shekerinska said to the families of the peacekeepers.
Shekerinska noted that the families of the peacekeepers in the Ministry and the Army will always have an address and people they can rely on.
“The transition centres that already exist in the Army and the Ministry of Defence, we will make them be centres of first support for all families, and therefore today, when the beautiful part ends, the useful part of the meeting will continue where you will talk to colleagues from the Ministry and the ARM as to how the families can be more assisted while your loved ones are out on a mission. We are aware that for a father or mother, husband, wife, son or daughter to be able to do a very difficult job calmly, the first thing we need to help is for them to not worry about their loved ones”, Shekerinska said.
General Gjurchinovski praised the Macedonian peacekeepers for their professionalism and the results achieved in peacekeeping missions. “Continue with dignity and motivation to represent the interests of our country and be proud that this is a historic moment in which the Republic of Macedonia is on the threshold of joining the NATO Alliance”, the Chief of General Staff of the ARM said.
Through the video-link, the most senior representative of the Macedonian contingent in Afghanistan, Colonel Ljupcho Jovanovski, said that all ARM soldiers in the “Resolute Support” mission are healthy and alive, and happy that they have the opportunity to see their loved ones. Colonel Jovanovski, as well as the ARM peacekeepers in Lebanon and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Major Atila Ago and Major Marijan Zlatanovski, wished a happy new year and upcoming holidays to the families of all peacekeepers in the missions in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
After the meeting, experts from the Ministry and the Army spoke with the families of the peacekeepers, gave them support in the part of the family’s functioning in the absence of one parent, as well as the family reunion after return of the peacekeeper from a peacekeeping mission, and presented the Rulebook on the manner of care of the families of military and civilian personnel deployed to activities outside our country.
The youngest, the children of the peacekeepers, were happy with the presence of Santa Claus, who gave them New Year’s gifts.