by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the joint press point with the Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹, Nikola Gruevski (followed by Question & Answer session)
Prime Minister Gruevski, welcome to NATO headquarters.
Your country is an important partner for the Alliance and an aspirant to NATO membership.
We share a vision of Euro-Atlantic integration. And we are committed to supporting you on your path towards NATO membership.
Today we have discussed our cooperation. And I thank you for your contribution to our Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and for your support with lines of communications for KFOR in Kosovo. Your nation is a security provider and we thank you for doing exactly that.
Integration into NATO requires difficult reforms and courageous leadership.
I commend your country’s progress in reforming the defence sector.
But we can also see challenges.
We are following with concern the recent political developments in Skopje.
Progress on reforms depends on effective democratic dialogue, widespread confidence in the rule of law and freedom of media.
These values are at the heart of the euro-atlantic community.
We count on you to ensure that they are fully respected.
We encourage all political forces in the country to act responsibly, to engage in open and constructive dialogue and to focus on the political and economic reforms necessary for progress on the country's Euro-Atlantic agenda.
This is in the interest of all of the country's citizens.
So please, once again, welcome M. Prime Minister.
MODERATOR: Any questions? Okay over there.
Q: I’m from Macedonian Nova TV. I have questions for both of you, I will ask Mr. Gruevski a question in Macedonian if I may. [Speaking foreign language]
TRANSLATOR: Mr. Gruevski, here in NATO which is a security organization, have you identified the foreign service for which there is a suspicion that it has made a break in Macedonia and have you asked the NATO to support Macedonia from foreign services in the future? The security system of Macedonia is really attacked.
Q: For Secretary General, we hear from the Government that Macedonia was attacked by foreign intelligence services, will NATO help Macedonia to prevent this kind of coup now and in the future? Thank you.
NIKOLA GRUEVSKI (Prime Minister for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹): [Speaking through translator]. Thank you for your question. Relating to your question I would like to emphasize that I described the situation rather directly in the past period, in the last year starting from everything which was presented to me at the discussions with the chief of opposition through those things that were discovered by the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecutors Office and presented in a court including the court ruling which already exists as well as the confessions of certain people in the court procedure about the illegal things that they have done and that they misuse the service, that is they violated the laws of the Republic of Macedonia. Everything else will be a part of the further court procedure which as I’ve said in Macedonia and I will say now will be clear, transparent and we are open for any monitoring in that part that is following of everything which will happen.
JENS STOLTENBERG (NATO Secretary General): It’s not possible for me to comment on the allegations about that foreign intelligence services have been active in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. What I can say is that I just underline the importance of freedom of press, of the importance of also allowing the opposition to have good working conditions and that’s democratic values which are important that are respected by all involved. And that we very much underline the importance of, that there is an independent and thorough investigation into the very serious allegations that have been put forward. And that those who are responsible are held accountable for what has happened. And therefore it is important that there is a thorough and independent investigation into the, into these allegations.
MODERATOR: Any other questions? Please put up your hands. Okay, gentleman over there, please introduce.
Q: Yes, [Inaudible], Macedonian Information Agency. Question for General Secretary, now seven years after the NATO summit in Bucharest 2008, does Macedonia, you think that now should still become a member of NATO and is NATO still want Macedonia to join the company? And for Prime Minister Gruevski, [speaking foreign language].
TRANSLATOR: Mr. Gruevski, can Macedonia persist in all this way of blockades and can we maintain the base of everything which is happening, although somebody plans to block that, can we maintain the progress not withstanding all blockades on our way?
JENS STOLTENBERG: I was present at the summit in Bucharest in 2008 and I remember very well the discussions we had there and I will reiterate that NATO is still committed to supporting you on your path towards NATO membership. And we also reiterated our position at the Wales summit last fall where we also reiterated that a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue must be reached before the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can join NATO. So we strongly urge for intensified efforts towards that end, but as you know NATO is a consensus based organization so we need the consensus among 28 allies to be able to, to make an agreement and to reach agreement within the NATO alliance.
NIKOLA GRUEVSKI (Speaking through Translator): With respect to the issue, the question to me, Macedonia has strength to overcome all blockades and obstacles. It will exit stronger from all this, it will continue with all reforms, it will continue to make steps forward and to be a better place for living.
MODERATOR: I’m afraid that’s all we have time for.
Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.