Story by NLO Skopje Public Affairs Office
OHRID, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* - An A5 Adriatic Charter meeting between former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia officials and the NATO Liaison Office Skopje took place in Ohrid between Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.
The Minister of Defence, Radmila Sekerinska, the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Secretary Laura Соoper and the Chief of the NATO Liaison Office Skopje, Slovenian Navy Captain Gorazd Bartol, officially opened the A 5 Adriatic Charter Ministerial meeting under the motto "Integration is the goal, cooperation is the way”.
"Fourteen years ago, we, with the help of our American friends, started the journey together that meant integration in NATO and that process is still ongoing,” stated Sekerinska in front of the delegations of United States of America, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Serbia, Kosovo and NATO.
The Minister also talked about the strategic goal of the country – membership in NATO, for which she said that is a key priority and guarantee for the regional security, stability and development.
"In order to achieve that goal we all must work together and with dedication. I would like to underline that we do not ask that the membership is received as a gift or gained right, but as a result of dedication, fulfilled criteria and secured domestic and political stability,” said Sekerinska. She added that former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will show results and will prove that it deserves to become the 30th NATO member nation.
Prime Minister Zaev emphasized that the Adriatic Charter was the reason to achieve the standards and criteria for membership in the Alliance. He added that after not receiving the membership, the country was pushed into regressive political processes which culminated with the heaviest political crisis in the country. However with the assistance of the democratic forces and free-minded citizen, the country rose above the crisis and continued to believe that the Euro-Atlantic integration and regional cooperation are necessary for long-term stability of the region and the entire continent.
"Today, the country is going forward in a stable and energetic manner. We are strongly committed to the domestic reforms that improve and strengthen our democracy in order to be aligned with the political criteria for membership in NATO. We increased the defence budget and we have a strong political will to increase it each year for 0.2 % from the GDP. We have also decided to increase our participation in the peace operations,” said the Prime Minister.
"The Adriatic Charter, what is very important for NATO, also gave an impetus to the progress of democratic reforms in the countries of the region. It intensified national reforms, promoted the stability of Southeast Europe and enhanced the countries Euro-Atlantic integrations efforts,” said Navy Captain Gorazd Bartol in his address.
The ministerial meeting will continue with the plenary session of the Chief of Delegations of the US – Adriatic Charter and guest and observer countries, after which a joint statement will be signed.
*Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.