Military Committee’s visit to Skopje demonstrates NATO’s strong and continued support towards the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹
The NATO Military Committee visited Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from 6-7 November 2018. The meeting was hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Radmila Shekerinska Jankovska and the Chief of the General Staff, Major General Vasko Gjurchinovski. The NATO Military Committee Deputy Chairman, Lieutenant General Steven Shepro first met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Jankovska and Chief of Defence Gjurchinovski, and then chaired a Military Committee Permanent Session where high level representatives from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia participated. The Military Committee visit concluded with a visit to Ilinden Barracks where the NATO Military Representatives watched a capability demonstration. A variety of capabilities, ranging from the defence of a high level representative in field to Special Forces storming and clearing an insurgent base, were demonstrated.
During their meeting, Deputy Chairman Lieutenant General Shepro commended the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Sekerinska and the Chief of Defence Gjurchinovski on the progress of their military reforms and recognised the significant progress of NATO accession. The Deputy Chairman highlighted that the decision brings the nation closer to NATO membership but there is still more work ahead. Lt Gen Shepro stated that:
“Skopje has made significant progress on the path towards NATO membership. Joining the alliance is now increasingly within grasp but it is entirely up to your people and government to decide”.
During the Military Committee Permanent Session, the military representatives held discussions on important topics for the Alliance such as the ongoing Strategic Defence Review, the Security Reforms and Capability Development. Throughout the meeting, the Military Committee highlighted the important and valuable partnership that exists between Skopje and NATO. NATO continues to fully support Skopje’s reforms and the increased interoperability between the country’s forces and NATO forces acquired during peacekeeping and crisis-management operations.
Speaking to media following the Military Committee meeting, Lieutenant General Shepro stressed the Alliance’s continued support:
“We are pleased to see the progress and momentum, and I want to reiterate the Alliance’s support for your commitment to a values based and reformed organization..Let me close by saying that the security and prosperity of this region matters to NATO, as it does to your population. The NATO Secretary General has already visited here twice this year and of course the Military Committee visit here today is an important statement.”
NATO is invested in security and stability in the Western Balkans region. NATO continues to work closely with the Western Balkans to maintain and promote regional and international peace and security. Democratic values, rule of law, domestic reforms, and good neighbourly relations are vital for regional cooperation and for the Euro-Atlantic integration process, and NATO welcomes progress in this regard.
- Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.