The upcoming referendum is the most important vote in your nation’s history. You will decide on your future in the referendum and have the support of the United States, said US Secretary of Defense James Mattis at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska.

According to him, the Prespa Accord will enable the implementation of key reforms in the accession process to NATO and the EU and will strengthen the security and economic development of Macedonia.

“You recently celebrated the anniversary of the referendum in which over 95% of citizens opted for the independence of the country. In two weeks your citizens will once again have the opportunity to take the country forward. I applaud you for your tireless efforts to achieve the historic Prespa agreement with Greece. We know that this demanded patient diplomacy from both sides and compromises are always difficult, “Mattis said, expressing gratitude to Zaev and Sekerinska for their commitment in resolving what he called a “tough name dispute”.

Recalling a statement from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, that by joining NATO, Macedonia will get an equal place in the most successful military alliance, along with 29 other member states which, according to Mattis, “are committed to protecting you and your safety.”

“We are ready to welcome you as the 30th member of NATO,” said the US Defense Secretary.

He emphasized that the Alliance is committed to preserving the territorial integrity and preserving freedom and democracy.

Mattis announced that today he will meet with the head of the Macedonian state Gjorge Ivanov, who, as he said, will continue talks on the bright future that lays ahead.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s visit is more confirmation of the encouragement and affirmation of our strategic partnership and is a strong motivation for the correctness of the policies that the Republic of Macedonia is taking in terms of dialogue and tolerance, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the press conference .

Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska pointed out that Mattis’s visit is strong confirmation of the strategic partnership between Macedonia and the United States.