In the previous year, NATO Liaison Office Skopje (NLOSk) hosted and participated in various events and activities to improve the relationship to its Host Nation.
Shortly after he assumed the duty of Chief of NLOSk on 01 July 2016, Slovenian Navy Captain Gorazd Bartol commenced introductory meetings with the host nation’s political and military leadership representatives. During the initial meeting, he expressed his gratitude to President Gjorge Ivanov underlining the ongoing cooperation and preparedness for further cooperation and support.
The event was followed by discussions with Lt. Gen. Metodija Velichkovski, Chief of the General Staff. Both agreed on the importance of continuing the present close cooperation at a professional level, aiming towards contributing to the process of integration within the North-Atlantic structures, as one of the main functions of the liaison office.
Following that, Capt. Bartol met with Mr. Emil Dimitriev, the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, as well as with his Deputy, Mr. Nikola Poposki.
During the talks, the officials expressed their satisfaction with the ongoing cooperation between NATO’s liaison office and the host nation’s institutions, emphasizing the importance of NATO’s presence. The Prime Minister emphasized that NLOSk still has an important role in the country’s defence and security sector reforms, reiterating that the NATO membership continues to be a strategic goal.
Throughout autumn 2016, the NLO team visited host nation’s higher level commands and units multiple times to provide briefings on its history, mission and tasks, and to give it’s individuals the opportunity to familiarize with their colleagues.
They paid visits to military units, including the Joint Operational Command Headquarters located in Kumanovo and the Headquarters of the Logistics Support Brigade and the Military Medical Center in Skopje.
Further, the Skopje’s NATO team received introductions across multiple military facilities and installations like the Water Training Centre in Ohrid, the Electronic Warfare Centre, the Training and Doctrine Command in Veles and its subordinated Krivolak Training Area.
These calls have been followed by appointments at several military units as the Special Operations Regiment, the Ceremonial Guard Battalion, the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade and the Air Brigade.
Throughout 2016, all official appointments have been complemented by multiple social events to extend NATO visibility in the country and to strengthen relations to Embassies in Skopje, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Directorate for Classified Information.
On the occasion of the 67th anniversary of NATO, the "Euro-Atlantic Council of Macedonia*” (EACM) organized a one-day event, entitled "NATO before the Warsaw Summit - Challenges and Perspectives for South East Europe”. The event, celebrated in the Army Hall in Skopje, was opened by Mr. Ismet Ramadani, the EACM President.
The conference has also been attended by Mr. Zoran Jolevski, Minister of Defence, Mr. Jess L. Baily, the US Ambassador, Mr. Jacek Multanowski, the Polish Ambassador and Mr. Omur Solendil, the Turkish Ambassador.
On 6 December 2016, manifold officials followed the NLO Skopje’s invitation for an annual reception for representatives of the government, members of the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff, members of the defence and security sector, diplomats and Defence Attaches.
Numerous heads of missions of the international organizations and embassies’ affiliates also appreciated the opportunity to familiarize with the NATO liaison office members.
"NATO Liaison Office Skopje will continue to work together with the Host Nation in order to reach the country’s strategic goal of the NATO membership. We stand ready to assist in any way possible in order to contribute and to assist to the reforms in the security sector of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Captain Bartol concluded.
*Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.