President Gjorge Ivanov and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed the current political situation in Macedonia, the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration, and the progress of defense and security reforms in accordance with NATO standards, said the president’s office .

Ivanov stressed that Macedonia is strongly committed to promoting peace and stability and contributing to security in and outside of the region.

“President Ivanov stressed that Macedonia has continuously shown that it is a reliable and strategic partner and NATO ally, adding that in 2008, Macedonia met the requirements for NATO membership and all these years has actively contributed to international peacekeeping missions and deserves NATO membership without additional conditions,” reads the statement.

Stoltenberg stated that Macedonia’s real place is in the European Union and the NATO Alliance.

“I will continue to support our strategic goals. However, the European Union and NATO should in no way be an alibi for a bad deal,” President Ivanov told Stoltenberg.

Ivanov stressed that all his obligations as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces in relation to the defense were finished and that the ARM had fulfilled the assigned tasks and managed to prove itself as an equal partner with the armies of NATO member states, both in training, exercises and checks, as well as in carrying out operations.

“In that direction, President Ivanov indicated that he supported the process of passing the strategic defense review in line with the recommendations of NATO advisory teams and that the new strategy, which is exclusively oriented towards NATO membership, has been made. Taking into account the new real challenges that the region and Europe are facing, President Ivanov added, maintaining the security, stability and prosperity of our region should be a collective interest of all,” added the statement.