The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ was a key partner in supporting NATO-led stabilization operations in Kosovo in 1999 and NATO forces were deployed to the country to halt the spread of the conflict as well as to provide logistical support to the Kosovo Force (KFOR). The Allies also provided humanitarian assistance as refugees from Kosovo fled into the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ . The country continues to provide valuable host nation support to KFOR troops transiting its territory.
NATO came to the assistance of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹, when violence between ethnic Albanian insurgents and security forces broke out in the west of the country in February 2001. The insurgents had taken control of a number of towns near the border with Kosovo, bringing the country to the brink of a civil war. NATO facilitated the negotiation of a ceasefire in June of that same year, which paved the way for a political settlement – the Ohrid Framework Agreement – in August 2001. In support of the settlement, NATO deployed a task force, “Essential Harvest”, to collect weapons handed over by the insurgents, as they prepared to disband. The NATO-led international monitoring mission continued to operate in support of the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement until 31 March 2003, when the European Union assumed the lead.
A key objective of NATO’s cooperation with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ is to develop the ability of the country’s armed forces to work alongside Allied forces in peace-support and crisis management operations.
The country’s participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) since 1999 has helped develop the ability of its forces to work with NATO, and also facilitated defence reform. PARP is a core element of the MAP. NATO Headquarters Skopje, established in 2003, also plays a role in assisting the implementation of the defence reform plans, including through its NATO Advisory Team, which is located within the country's defence ministry.
Cooperation in the fight against terrorism takes place in the framework of the Partnership Action Plan on Terrorism. This includes sharing intelligence and analysis with NATO, enhancing national counter-terrorist capabilities and improving border security. In consultation with the Allies, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ has taken steps to establish competent bodies and services to deal with contemporary forms of terrorism.
Defence and security sector reform
NATO is supportive of the wide-ranging and ongoing reform process underway in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹. In the areas of defence and security sector reform, NATO and individual Allies have considerable expertise that the country can draw upon. In consultation with the Allies, the country continues to implement a wide range of reforms in line with its Strategic Defence Review.
The Allies have assisted in the development of a transformation plan for the country’s armed forces. The plan includes detailed programmes covering logistics, personnel, equipment, training, and a timetable for the restructuring of key military units. Other key objectives include improving ethnic minority representation in civil/military defence structures and judicial and police reform.
The country’s participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) since 1999 has helped develop the ability of its forces to work with NATO, and also facilitated defence reform. PARP is a core element of the MAP. NATO Headquarters Skopje, established in 2003, also plays a role in assisting the implementation of the defence reform plans, specifically by means of its NATO Advisory Team, which is located within the country's defence ministry.
The country joined the Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) in 2005. The OCC is a mechanism through which units available for PfP operations can be evaluated and better integrated with NATO forces to increase operational effectiveness.
Civil emergency planning
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ is enhancing its national civil emergency and disaster-management capabilities in cooperation with NATO and through participation in activities organized by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre. The country also participates in the work of the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee.
In consultation with NATO, a national crisis-management system has been established to ensure that the structures in place serve effectively and efficiently in the case of a national crisis.
Science and environment
Under the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ has received grant awards for over 40 collaborative projects. Projects include advanced research workshops on information security, and studies into crisis management and counter-terrorism activity.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ has also worked with other countries in the field of science. For instance, it was recently part of a regional project concerning seismic-risk mapping.
Given that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ aims to join NATO, it is important to continue to ensure public awareness of how NATO works and the rights and obligations which membership brings. Public diplomacy activities also aim to develop and maintain links with civil society actors and to facilitate security-related activities and programmes in the country. NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division plays a key role in this area as do individual Allies and Partner countries.
In every partner country an embassy of one of the NATO member states serves as a contact point and operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of the Alliance. The Embassy of Turkey in Skopje acts as a Contact Point Embassy (CPE) for NATO.