SKOPJE, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* -- NATO Liaison Office Skopje hosted a reception celebrating NATO day, April 4, 2018.
The Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev, along with other ministers, ambassadors and government officials, were also present. Event organizers said opinion makers, public figures and representatives from non-governmental organizations also attended.
"We welcomed the new government’s very clear, strong commitment to reforms and to intensifying the dialogue with Greece, and its new approach to improving good-neighborly relations,” said Slovenian Navy Captain Gorazd Bartol, Chief NATO Liasion Office, during his speech. "With the new energy and enthusiasm that the new government introduced and the ambitious reform agenda, the country’s strategic foreign policy priority number 1 – to become the 30th member of the Alliance – has become closer.”
Zaev stated that the country is doing everything possible in order to convince the NATO partners and after long and close cooperation, it has fully earned the right to become a member of this elite organization regardless of the current political conditions. Although the population number is small with a modest Army, Zaev said the country offers great contributions in NATO missions.
He also said that the country is ready to increase the number of troops deployed abroad and promised a continuous increase of the defence budget.
"We remain committed, we will increase our participation in the peace mission in Afghanistan for 20 percent, and each year we will increase the budget for the Army for 0.2 percent from the Gross Domestic Product” said Zaev.
He also reminded the guests of the enormous support for NATO membership aimed at attaining the country’s strategic goal by the population of his country.
*Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.
Story by NLO Skopje