At today’s central ceremony in Ohrid, on the occasion of the Army Day, 18 August, the Minister of Defense Radmila Shekerinska conveyed in her address messages to the Army for everything that was achieved in the past period, as well as for everything that will be taking place in the near future.
The Minister thanked the members of the Army, the soldiers, NCOs and officers for their contribution to the security and sovereignty of our country, for their contribution to the process of joining the Alliance, for their participation in peacekeeping missions, for giving a landing hand to the citizens in natural disasters.
“It is our task to provide you with the best training, the best equipment and constant attention, to continue to invest in you, in our people and for our people,” Minister Shekerinska said. She added that the care for the Army would not stop – the defense budget had been increased for two years in a row, the salaries were increased for two years in a row, the jubilee awards and duty shift allowance are being paid regularly. The Minister said that after 16 years, new engineering machines were acquired and the Army received 500 new professional soldiers.
With respect to the future steps, the Minister stated that the state and the Army are counting down to the full fledged membership in the Alliance, and the last preparations are being made.
“We have developed an Equipping and Modernization Plan for the armed forces, as part of the Long-Term Defense Capability Development Plan 2019 – 2028. We are amending the key laws and introducing NATO rules,” Shekerinska said, adding that in parallel with the budget increase, transparency and accountability in work have also been increased.
Referring to the recently completed largest military exercise in our country, “Decisive Strike”, Minister Shekerinska said that the Army has shown that it is a credible, organized and dedicated partner, that it is NATO.
Minister Shekerinska dedicated this great day for the Army to our members who are currently thousands of kilometers away from home, in peacekeeping missions, especially in the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan.
“It is almost 1 p.m. in Kabul. This is an ordinary working day for our soldiers and officers, with tasks and many risks, expected and unexpected, dangerous and even more dangerous. This celebration is our celebration, but for me, this is, first and foremost, their day” the Minister said.
The Minister congratulated the President’s newly appointed adjutant, Lieutenant Colonel Blazevska, the first female adjutant to the Supreme Commander, and said that the military profession is also a profession for women who prove on a daily basis that they are able to handle all tasks and responsibilities.
In her address in front of President Stevo Pendarovski, Chief of General Staff, General Gjurchinovski and other senior guests, Minister Shekerinska underlined – we have a year of success behind us, but I expect the future to be even better and more successful.
The President and Commander-in-Chief, Pendarovski stressed that defense and security reforms are an ongoing process and that they will continue after we receive NATO membership.
Addressing the members of the Army, President Pendarovski said that “as Supreme Commander I will insist on improving your living and professional standard and as you fulfill your part of our responsibilities responsibly, committedly and professionally, we must fulfill our commitment to you in the same manner”.
The President awarded the Military Helicopter Squadron from the Air Force Brigade to the Joint Operations Command and the NATO Liaison Office in Skopje military merit medals.