Joint press conference
with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev
Prime Minister Zaev,
My friend Zoran,
Thank you for welcoming me and my delegation and the North Atlantic Council here to Skopje. This is a historic visit, the first ever visit of the North Atlantic Council to your country.
Our visit sends a clear message: we are ready to welcome you into the NATO family.
In February, we signed the Accession Protocol for North Macedonia.
It was a historic moment for your country and for the whole Alliance.
I commend you for your leadership in solving the name issue.
Together with Prime Minister Tsipras, you showed great political courage and vision.
It was this agreement which made your accession to NATO possible.
You are building a better future for your country. North Macedonia already has a seat at NATO’s table. Foreign Minister Dimitrov joined us in Washington in April to mark the seventieth anniversary of our Alliance.
And this month, Minister Sekerinska will once again attend the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels.
Once all Allies have ratified the Accession Protocol, North Macedonia will become the 30th member of our Alliance.
NATO membership will bring greater security and prosperity for all the people of North Macedonia. You will take part in developing NATO policy. Your voice will be as important in the decisions we make as that of any other NATO Ally. To keep our countries safe, secure and prosperous.
Because security is the basis for prosperity.
And we have already seen that foreign investment in North Macedonia has increased over threefold in the last year.
Today, we discussed North Macedonia’s integration into the Alliance, and your progress on reforms.
Including on the rule of law, security and intelligence, and in the defence sector. Continuing the pace of reforms is important, as you prepare for full membership. We will continue to support you on this path.
NATO and North Macedonia already worked together very closely. Our soldiers serve together in Afghanistan. And you have also provided valuable support to our peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.
This shows your commitment to international peace and security. And we are really grateful for this commitment and your contributions.
So Prime Minister Zaev,
Throughout NATO’s history, our open door policy has been a success, strengthening our Alliance and contributing to Euro-Atlantic security. You will soon be part of that success.
I look forward to the day when North Macedonia becomes a full member of NATO.
So once again thank you so much.