The Minister of Defence, Radmila Shekerinska, together with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, met today in Brussels with NATO Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller, on the eve of the North Atlantic Council Meeting with the Republic of Macedonia (NAC+1).
On the meeting they discussed about the stability and security of the Western Balkans, the political situation in Macedonia and the progress in the reform processes of the new Government.
NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller expressed her gratitude for the participation of the Macedonian defence forces in Afghanistan and said that the Republic of Macedonia is a valued NATO partner.
- Reforms that enhance good governance, the rule of law and good neighbourly relations in your multi-ethnic society are beneficial for all of your citizens. Progress in implementing reforms requires time and effort, but we know that reforms will be of great benefit to your country as you approach your Euro-Atlantic goals and aspirations”, Gottemoeller said on the press conference after the meeting.
Gottemoeller stressed that NATO wants to see Macedonia realize its aspirations as a successfully integrated country in a stable and prosperous region.
- NATO’s doors remain open and NATO will continue to support your nation on the road to membership in the Alliance – Gottemoeller said.
Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said that the new Macedonian democracy managed to achieve political change in conditions of an institutional, even moral crisis.
- We decided to invest in democracy in order not to repeat the previous years, we want free media, a functioning parliament, an independent judiciary because it is a country like the NATO members, sharing the same values. We will give the Alliance more reasons why the Republic of Macedonia should be the 30th NATO member state. We see the region through a perspective – we will succeed either together or not. We are a country that builds bridges. We are proud of the agreement concluded with Bulgaria; we will move the region in a good direction, more experienced from the crisis we will help others move forward – said Dimitrov.
Minister Shekerinska stressed that Macedonia is a NATO trusted partner. She said the Government was committed to returning the country to the path of reforms and EU and NATO membership.
- We are here to finish the 17th cycle for NATO membership. As a Government, we are dedicated through the 3-6-9 plan to focus fully on democratic reforms – the rule of law, independent media, independent judiciary, professional administration. Without democracy and the rule of law, all our countries look less secure and less stable – Shekerinska said.
She said that the Government has decided to prepare a new Defence Strategy and a new Strategic Defence Review that will provide a framework for ways and policies that will make Macedonia better deal with security challenges. Shekerinska said that the defence budget will gradually increase starting from 2018 towards the goal needed for NATO membership. She informed that the Government approved the decision for Macedonia to increase its contribution to the “Resolute Support” mission by 20% starting from the beginning of next year.
Immediately after media statements, Ministers of Defence Shekerinska and Foreign Affairs Dimitrov began the meeting with the North Atlantic Council, which will formally complete the 17th Action Plan for Macedonia’s membership in the Alliance.
You can see the video of the statements of Ministers Shekerinska and Dimitrov together with NATO Deputy Secretary General Gottemoeller on the following link.