Scaparrotti: Looking forward to Macedonia becoming the 30th member of NATO

Skopje, 9 August, 2018 - 14:21 (META) 

Your country is building a bright future and progressing. NATO shares your commitment to democracy, the rule of law, security and stability in the region. Your continued support is important not only for the Western Balkans, but for the whole of Europe. I am looking forward to Macedonia becoming the 30th member of NATO, said the commander of the US Army Command in Europe for Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti, who is visiting Macedonia today.

General Scaparrotti, together with a delegation from the Ministry of Defence and the Army of the Republic of Macedonia, led by Minister Radmila Shekerinska, conducted a demonstration exercise at the “Ilinden” barracks.

“Recognizing the historic invitation of allies to start accession negotiations with NATO, we recognize and respect that there are challenges remaining before you, so, there is still a lot of work to be done. At the same time, we look forward to providing practical support to your military authorities in the accession process. We are convinced by addressing these challenges and a successful accession to the Alliance will have exceptional benefits for you. The countries that joined the Alliance have managed to strengthen their democracy, advance security and make their people more secure”, Scaparrotti said.

Shekerinska said this visit shows how things in Macedonia have changed since July 11 when we received the NATO invitation.

“Today we host the first NATO Military Representative from Europe, who is visiting for the first time in Macedonia. These amplified dynamics demonstrates the firm determination of Macedonia to become the 30th NATO member in a rapid and intensive process”, Shekerinska said.

She emphasized that at this point it is important to confirm and honour the two and a half decade of the determination by the people of the Republic of Macedonia for NATO membership, and one of those key steps will be the referendum on September 30th.

Russian Embassy: Zaev and Sekerinska are spreading Russophobia, we expect an investigation into allegations

Skopje, 17 July, 2018 - 11:55 (META) 

Yesterday evening, the Russian embassy reacted to allegations from Prime Minister Zoran Zaev that businessmen from Russia financed anti-government protests. Zaev made the statement in an interview with BuzzFeed News and then repeated it in response to a journalist’s question at the start of the construction of the American Dura plant in Bunardzik.

The Embassy believes that the statement was guesswork, similar to those of the Minister of Defense Radmila Sekerinska recently.

“We believe that such statements are guesswork, as well as the recent allegations by the Minister of Defense, Radmila Sekerinska, are aimed at spreading Russophobia, which is increasingly accepted by the Western partners of Macedonia as a tool for achieving its own internal and external political goals. In that context, the honesty of the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia for building friendly relations with the Russian Federation is questionable”, read the statement.

In addition, it calls for an investigation into the Government’s allegations.

“We expect that the Macedonian side, within the legal field of its state and international practice, will conduct a detailed and objective investigation of the allegations that the stated members of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia allude to, and will present it to the public, as well as the Russian side, real facts, not constructions”, read the statement.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation says they are “counterproductive and irresponsible attempts” to intimidate citizens “with a fictitious Russian threat”.

Shekerinska: Macedonia will receive NATO invitation while sitting at the table with world powers

Skopje, 10 July, 2018 - 18:17 (META) 

Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska speaking before the NATO summit in Brussels addressed the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia with a video message.

In the video statement Minister Shekerinska emphasized that Macedonia will sit at the same table with world powers in the next two days, and that it will officially receive an invitation to join NATO.

“We missed this chance in 2008 and since then things have gone wrong. We have seen what it means to live in an uncertain country and in an unstable region. We have passed through many crises, and the state stagnated in all areas. Dear fellow citizens, in the past 10 years, one thing has become clear – without clear perspectives for NATO and EU membership, the future of Macedonia is uncertain. NATO membership is a historic opportunity that we must now utilise. Thus, the Republic of Macedonia will become a partner and ally with the most powerful countries in the world. NATO membership will bring stability and security for the Republic of Macedonia and its citizens. But it will also bring a chance for faster economic development and prosperity”, said the minister.

Shekerinska stressed that major changes have taken place, bringing big steps forward, and difficult problems have been solved.

“We have made major reforms, we have solved serious problems. We have shown that Macedonia can do better. I am proud of what we have achieved, we are moving forward”, she said in her video address.

Shekerinska: We are getting an invitation for NATO the day after tomorrow, lets not miss this chance

Skopje, 9 July, 2018 - 15:36 (META) 

It is quite certain that on 11th of July, Macedonia will receive an invitation for accession talks for the NATO Summit, which is expected to be relatively short – three to six months – a procedure which is identical to the last countries which became NATO members, i.e. Montenegro, Albania and Croatia, and then the Accession Protocol has to be signed, after which its ratification will begin with all member states, and then, we will be “de facto” with NATO, because then we will participate in a big part of the NATO procedures. It remains only to complete the procedure in the country, with the referendum and the constitutional changes, in order to remove the last obstacles. For a long period of time the opposition has been stressing that the EU and NATO are the strategic commitments for Macedonia, and now, it is not serious by the opposition to block this road because of the small political points, said Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska and the national NATO co-ordinator Stevo Pendarovski at today’s briefing with journalists.

Emphasizing that it is a minor accession process and that a large part of the issues have already been completed, both Pendarovski and Shekerinska said the accession process would be identical as it is for Montenegro, Albania and Croatia, and that the main thing should take place in the country, i.e. to hold a referendum and to change the Constitution.

“Macedonia is at a new beginning. What we missed in 2008, we can now realize it with 10 years delay, and we know it costs us a lot. But now it is a new time when the state is no longer abducted, the period of stagnation has stopped, we have a chance to send a new message for stability, and also we could have economic benefits. In the meantime, we have noticed that there is no objection from Greece”, the Minister of Defense said.

When asked whether it was possible for France and the Netherlands to obstruct the process, as it was with the case regarding the invitation to negotiate with the EU, Shekerinska and Pendarovski explained there is no danger at all, referring to the meetings with NATO ministers and ambassadors.

According to Pendarovski, during his reports in Brussels, he received assurances from the ambassadors of both countries that there is no objection.

Šekerinska from Vermont: Macedonia deserves NATO membership

Washington, 2 May, 2018 - 10:46 (META) 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Radmila Šekerinska, during her official visit to the United States stated that Macedonia deserves NATO membership.

She told a news conference in the US state of Vermont that Macedonia has shown that it is a dedicated partner to which Alliance members can count on.

“My goal is to seek the support of the strategic partner of Macedonia, the United States, ahead of the NATO Summit. Macedonia deserved its place in NATO, we have worked hard. We have shown that Macedonia is a committed partner to which Alliance members can count on. We believe that the invitation to Macedonia for NATO membership will contribute to our stability, but also to the stability of the region, and it will be in the US interest, said Šekerinska.

She met in Vermont with Governor Phil Scott and National Guard Commander Major General Steven Cray.

The Defense Secretary is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis today in Washington.

Baily: There is a real opportunity for Macedonia to join NATO soon

Skopje, 4 April, 2018 - 15:24 (META) 

There is a real opportunity for Macedonia to join NATO soon as there is big difference when talking about the country today compared to the past, US Ambassador Jess Baily said today at the debate “NATO and you” organized by the Ministry of Defense, the Euro-Atlantic Council of Macedonia (ATA-Macedonia ), NATO Liaison Office and the Croatian Embassy on the occasion of the Day of the Alliance – 4 April.

“What does NATO membership for Macedonia and its citizens mean? This means that you will be allies, not partners, friends, neighbors with other member states. Today, marking the 69th anniversary of the signing of the Washington Treaty, the Alliance is an alliance that is based on respect for human rights and freedom, democracy and the rule of law”, said Baily.

According to the US ambassador, the low level of rule of law is the country makes it first vulnerable to corruption, but also to internal and external enemies.

He added that joining NATO would help overcome internal political divisions in the country. He stressed that it is necessary that the systemic reforms introduced in Macedonia should not be left only on paper, that is, the laws that are being passed in Parliament are further practically implemented.

Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska addressed the debate, pointing out that NATO membership is of particular importance because the country will become part of the world’s most powerful economic union that fosters democracy and guarantees security for its members. She noted that on the list of countries with the highest quality of life, the first eight are NATO members.

Sekerinska added that joining NATO would allow the country’s uninterrupted economic progress, and would be a guarantee of its further democratization.

“For the past 10 months, we have shown that democratic tissue in Macedonia is not lost. If you turn on your TVs, you will no longer see propaganda. The government is not avoiding discussions and is introducing a policy of transparent operations”, said the Minister of Defense.

Šekerinska: We tell all countries – Strategic goals are our own

Skopje, 30 March, 2018 - 16:31 (META) 

Statements we have received from Russia lately have not been positive, but they are of no surprise, especially after Russia shared their views last year concerning our strategic goals, said deputy prime minister and defense minister, Radmila Šekerinska after visiting the Military Medical Centre in Skopje.

“We want to have good relations with Russia while investing in good relations with everyone, our neighbours and other countries – strategic goals are our own”, says Šekerinska.

She pointed out that since 1992, Macedonia has expressed its national consensus on EU and NATO membership.

“We do not interfere in other issues, however, we want out decisions to be our own. This way, our sovereignty is protected, and therefore our independence is defended, this way we protect our own country”, said Šekerinska when answering a reporter’s question.

The Governments of Macedonia and Bulgaria will hold a session in Strumica

Sofia, 2 November, 2017 - 16:25 (META) 

Macedonia and Bulgaria are an example of good neighborly relations and cooperation which strengthens the security of the whole region, and Bulgaria unequivocally supports Macedonia on its path to the European Union and NATO and will help implement the strategic goals of the country. This was emphasized at the meetings between Minister of Defense, Radmila Šekerinska with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov and Bulgarian Minister of Defense, Krasimir Karakachanov in Sofia.

The Ministry of Defense stated that Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov said at the meeting with Šekerinska, when Bulgaria takes over the presidency of the European Union, they will provide all of Macedonia’s support in its Euro-integration process.

Šekerinska pointed out that in the last few months they have shown that there is strong political will for concrete cooperation, real positive and friendly relations between the two countries, and a new climate of cooperation.

The Minister of Defense said that the upcoming session between the two governments in Strumica, will show that cooperation is deepening.

The Minister of Defense of Bulgaria, Karakachanov, expressed his satisfaction that from August 1st to the present, contact between Bulgaria and Macedonia has intensified with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s government than in the last 20 years. He stressed that Bulgaria’s policy of Macedonia’s membership in NATO and the EU is clear, and it is categorical support.

Gottemoeller: Montenegro’s entry into NATO means that the doors are open for Macedonia too

Brussels, 27 September, 2017 - 20:18 (META) 

NATO members and the international community were horrified by the violence in Parliament this April and we welcome the progress that has been made ever since, said NATO Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller, at a joint press conference with defense ministers and foreign ministers of Macedonia, Radmila Šekerinska and Nikola Dimitrov, who are visiting NATO headquarters in Brussels.

She reminded the message from the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, after meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in June this year, that it is now important for all parties to overcome their differences and work constructively “to implement the necessary reforms, by strengthening good governance and rule of law in a multi-ethnic society.”

“This challenging reform agenda takes time and effort, but the country will benefit from the reforms and towards the achievement of Euro-Atlantic goals”, said Stoltenberg’s deputy.

Gottemoeller pointed out that the fact that Montenegro became the 29th member of NATO, shows that NATO’s doors are open and that the Alliance continues to support Macedonia on its path to NATO membership.

Defense and Foreign Ministers, Šekerinska and Dimitrov, today at NATO Headquarters, are participating in the North Atlantic Council meeting with the Republic of Macedonia.

Karakachanov will arrive in Macedonia tomorrow for official visit

Skopje, 17 September, 2017 - 13:53 (META) 

The Minister of Bulgaria, Krasimir Karakachanov, will have a meeting with the Minister of Defense, Radmila Shekjerinska, announced today the Ministry of Defense.

This is the first official visit of a high-ranking Bulgarian official after the signing of the Agreement for good neighborly relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria on the 1st of August in Skopje. Karakachov was also part of the delegation led by the Bulgarian Prime MInister, Bojko Borisov. Back then he stated that Bulgaria will help Macedonia on its roads towards NATO.

The welcoming reception of the Bulgarian delegation is planned for tomorrow starting at 9 o’clock in front of the plateau of the Ministry of Defense. Half an hour later, a meeting between the delegations of both countries is scheduled, and at 10.30, Shekjerinska and Karakachanov will talk to the press.

The Bulgarian minister will also visit the “Ilinden” army barracks where the regiment of special operations will conduct an exercise.

Otherwise, Karachanov is a longstanding leader of VMRO-BND, that is known for its extreme nationalism towards Macedonia.