NATO Deputy Secretary General, Prime Minister of North Macedonia discuss Western Balkan security, Ukraine support

  • 13 Feb. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 19 Feb. 2024 12:08

Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană met with Prime Minister Talat Xhaferi of North Macedonia for talks at NATO Headquarters on Tuesday (13 February 2024). They discussed security in the Western Balkans, support to Ukraine and preparations for the NATO Summit in Washington.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană meets with Talat Xhaferi, Prime Minister of North Macedonia

The Deputy Secretary General thanked the Prime Minister for North Macedonia’s commitment to the Alliance, including by contributing troops to NATO’s Kosovo peacekeeping mission and to the battlegroups in Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia. Mr Geoană welcomed North Macedonia’s commitment to increase its defence budget, building up to 2% of GDP this year. On Ukraine, Mr Geoană thanked Prime Minister Xhaferi for the military, financial and humanitarian support North Macedonia has provided to Ukraine, underlining that Allies’ continued support is making a difference on the battlefield.

On the Western Balkans, Mr Geoană emphasised that the region is of strategic importance for NATO as highlighted by the recent visit of the North Atlantic Council to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Amid secessionist threats, Mr Geoană said that the Alliance stood by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territorial integrity. He recalled that the Alliance had increased its military presence in Kosovo following recent violence and would do what is necessary to keep the peace.

The two leaders further discussed preparations for the upcoming NATO Summit in Washington, including NATO’s push to invest more in defence and expanding the transatlantic industrial base. Marking the Alliance’s 75th anniversary, the Summit will send a strong message of unity and demonstrate that NATO is adapting to an uncertain and more dangerous security environment, the Deputy Secretary General said.