Courageous decisions were made, opening thus the way for Macedonia to get the long-awaited and well deserved invitation to join the Alliance, the Ministers concluded.
“It took vision and leadership to resolve the decades-long dispute with Greece. This solution is also a strategic step for both countries. The Balkans has shown that rather than only creating problems, it can also be a model for solving European problems and challenges. This cannot be said very often. Now Macedonia is expecting a strong valorization of all that has been done, through an invitation for membership in the Alliance and a start of the negotiations with the European Union” Minister Shekerinska said at the meeting.
The Minister stressed that the shift in the Euro-Atlantic integration processes for Macedonia will mean strengthening the stability, security and prosperity of the entire Balkans, which is a prerequisite for a safe Europe. Shekerinska added that the government remains unwavering in the implementation of domestic reforms, the rule of law, democracy, and freedom of the media.
“Norway welcomes the positive developments in the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece,” said Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen.
“This is an impetus for the transformation and stability for the entire region. Our support for Macedonia’s NATO membership is unambiguous, “Jensen said and informed the Minister that at the upcoming NATO Summit in Brussels, Norway will respond positively to the invitation for Macedonia’s accession to the Alliance, which will be supported by the decision to support Macedonia that the Norwegian Government adopted last week.
Both countries have intense bilateral defense cooperation. Norway is one of the greatest supporters of our national Public Affairs Regional Center, which is also a NATO-partner center, and continues its support for the Balkan Medical Task Force, a regional organization based in Skopje.
During the visit, the Minister met with Norwegian State Secretary Ingvild Næss Stub, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Audun Halvorsen and the Chair of the Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense, Anniken Huitfeldt.
At these meetings, the Minister addressed the extremely positive development of relations in Macedonia, the commitment to democratization of society and the pragmatic approach to resolving the open issues between neighbors.