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.