SKOPJE, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* - On Sept. 12, the Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy joined the NATO Liaison Office Skopje during a working meeting for the country’s accession talks for membership in NATO.
James Appathurai, NATO assistant secretary general, and Slovenian Navy Captain Gorazd Bartol, NLO Skopje chief, conducted a working meeting with the Minister of Defence, Radmila Sekerinska. The visit is part of the country’s accession talks for membership in NATO.
During the meeting, Minister Sekerinska stressed that during the last year, the government has worked on three significant issues: the Agreement with Bulgaria, the Agreement on the name issue with Greece and inter-ethnic relations in the country.
Regarding the membership in NATO, the Minister of Defence added they are ready to commence with the accession talks and the process is moving forward with the foreseen dynamics.
"The accession talks, which are among the last steps prior to full-fledged membership in NATO, will help us to remain focused and choose the proper priorities,” said Minister Sekerinska. "With the development of the Strategic Defence Review, as a key document, we started the reform’s discussions and we are ready to implement them.”
Appathurai congratulated the leadership in the country and the region. He emphasized that the country has made big development in a short period of time and that the good-neighborly policy of the country is impressive for the neighbors that supported the country for full-fledged membership. He also agreed that it exceptionally important how the defence budget is spent and offered assistance and support by NATO.
Appathurai expressed gratitude for the continuous contribution of the country to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, a contribution acknowledged by all allies.
* Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name