Joint press point
with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹, Zoran Zaev - Secretary General's remarks
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, welcome to NATO Headquarters, it’s a great honour and great pleasure to have you here and we have just finished a good meeting where we have addressed our partnership and how we work together.
We spoke after you took office. And I want to also today use this opportunity to congratulate you again on your appointment as Prime Minister.
NATO welcomes the formation of a new government following months of political crisis in your country. NATO and the rest of the international community were shocked by the violence at the parliament in Skopje in April. Real progress has been made since then. I continue to encourage all parties to put their divisions aside. To engage constructively in the political process and to work in the interests of all people in your country. So Prime Minister, you and I have just discussed the importance of reforms. Good governance, the rule of law, strengthening of a multi-ethnic society, and good neighbourly relations are all essential. Further progress in these areas will benefit all your citizens. It will also advance your country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. NATO and the European Union speak with one voice on these issues.
NATO has invested in the security and stability of the Western Balkans for more than two decades and the region has made significant progress since the 1990s. We want to see your country as part of a stable, democratic and prosperous region. Last week, Montenegro became the 29th member of the Alliance. This shows that NATO’s door remains open. We continue to support your nation on the path towards eventual membership of the Alliance. As with all aspirant countries, it is important to remain focussed on the reform agenda and to ensure political stability. There may be hurdles to overcome - but it can be done over time.
So Prime Minister, your country is already an important partner. For years your troops have served in Afghanistan. NATO values this continued contribution to our Resolute Support Mission. It is a clear sign of your country’s commitment to international security. So Prime Minister Zaev, thank you once again. I look forward to working with you and once again, welcome to NATO Headquarters. The floor is yours.
- La Turquie reconnaît la République de Macédoine sous son nom constitutionnel.