by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the dinner hosted by the President of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, Talat Xhaferi
President of the Assembly, Mr. Xhaferi, ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of all of the members of NATO’s North Atlantic Council, I would like to say what an honour it is to be here tonight.
North Macedonia has embarked on an extraordinary journey.
A journey towards European and trans-Atlantic integration.
A journey marked by courage and determination to solve the name issue that has held your country back for too long.
I congratulate you all for taking the difficult steps necessary to surmount that obstacle for the people of North Macedonia.
The benefits to your nation are already clear.
Investment in North Macedonia is up three-fold in the space of a year.
And you already have a seat at NATO’s table, taking part in the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting in February, and our Foreign Ministers’ meeting in April.
Our Alliance has kept our people safe and our values – freedom, democracy, and the rule of law – secure for so many years.
Such has been the success of the NATO Alliance that, from the beginning, other nations have sought to join.
In 1949, the foreign ministers from twelve countries signed the Washington Treaty.
Soon, when the accession process is complete, I look forward to welcoming North Macedonia as the thirtieth member of our Alliance.
And to seeing your flag fly at our headquarters in Brussels.
As well as on our missions and operations around the world.
Mr Xhaferi, ladies and gentlemen,
Congratulations on all that you have achieved.