Joint press point

with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev

  • 19 Mar. 2019 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 19 Mar. 2019 17:15

(As delivered)

Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev

Prime Minister Zaev, dear Zoran,

Welcome back to the NATO headquarters. This is really a great pleasure and honour to welcome you here for the first time as the Prime Minister in North Macedonia.

It is a great pleasure to meet you again, especially since last month NATO Ambassadors signed the Accession Protocol for the Republic of North Macedonia.

It was a historic moment for your country and for NATO. Your leadership helped make this happen. 

By working with Athens you have shown what courage, commitment and diplomacy can achieve. The agreement with Athens has already created a lot of positive political momentum. NATO membership will further bring peace, stability and prosperity to South-Eastern Europe.

And for that I really want to thank you and to congratulate you for your courage and your commitment.

Several Allies have already ratified the Accession Protocol. Once all Allies have completed this process, North Macedonia will become the 30th member of the Alliance.

Your country already has a seat at NATO’s table. Last month I welcomed Minister Sekerinska to the meeting of NATO’s Defence Ministers. And next month, Foreign Minister Dimitrov will join us in Washington to mark the founding of our Alliance seventy years ago.

NATO’s open door policy is one of our greatest success stories. Welcoming new members into the NATO family has made Europe and North America more secure. Together, we stand in defence of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. 

North Macedonia already makes important contributions to the Alliance.

You are part of NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan, you promote regional cooperation in Southeast Europe and you are also implementing major reforms.

I encourage North Macedonia to continue on the path of reform. This is important, as you prepare for full membership. And build a better future for all citizens in your country.

So Prime Minister,

I look forward to the day when North Macedonia becomes a full member of our Alliance. What once seemed a distant hope for your country is set to become a reality.

Thank you once again for your tireless efforts and your leadership.

So welcome once again.

Thank you.