Today, Minister of Defense Radmila Shekerinska and Slovenian Minister of Defense Andreja Katič had an official meeting in the premises of the Ministry of Defense of Macedonia.
At the meeting, the two Ministers confirmed the partner and friendly relations between the two countries, as well as the cooperation in the field of defense. It was underlined that Slovenia’s support to Macedonia is a continuous process going forward in the future as well. Minister Shekerinska informed Katič that the Plan for Accession Talks with NATO has been activated, as well as about the forthcoming referendum of the citizens.
Shekerinska and Katič agreed that Macedonia’s membership of NATO will be reflected positively on the entire region and will affirm the commitment of both NATO and the EU to stabilize it. At home, the Ministers said, it will consolidate democracy, speed up economic growth and improve the possibilities for the country’s overall development.
“Today’s meeting is also a completion of the successful summer we had as a state, as Ministry of Defense, with the reception of NATO invitation in July. Macedonia and Slovenia are not only friendly but also similar countries, by territory and population. Since gaining our independence, Macedonia and Slovenia chose the same path, but unfortunately at different speeds. Slovenia was the country that became the first NATO member and first joined the EU. It is no coincidence that today Slovenia has the highest average and minimum salaries in the region and the best standards in the areas that are important for the citizens, namely, education, health, science” Minister Shekerinska stated.
The Minister said that the example with Slovenia is perhaps the best indicator of the formula for success for us as well. “Macedonia knows that this is the right path and we are convinced that on 30 September, the citizens will confirm in the referendum that they wish such a future for themselves, for their families, their children, their country,” Shekerinska said.
The Slovenian Defense Minister said the purpose of the visit was to continue the political dialogue and strengthen defense co-operation. Katič welcomed the Government’s progress and the commitment to reforms and said NATO membership is a key element for security, stability, foreign investment and economic development that lead to a better life for the citizens.
“The referendum is a democratic institution for expressing the will of the people and it is therefore important that the citizens of Macedonia participate in it. We, the NATO member states, hope that you will successfully cross that path, after which we will sit together at the same table with you as a full member of NATO” said Minister Katič.
The talks also highlighted the role of the NATO Office in Skopje, led by the Slovenian Naval Captain Gorazd Bartol, which in recent years has been providing constant support to the Ministry of Defense and the country.
Ministers Shekerinska and Katič signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which covers cooperation in the field of training, exercises and sharing experiences. The Memorandum regulates the conditions and procedures for such cooperation, signing annual training plans, medical care for soldiers during training, training finances, legal aspects, environmental protection, etc.