As of today, the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia has over 1,200 new M-4 automatic rifles, donated by our strategic partner and ally in NATO, the United States of America. Given this quantity, in addition to the special forces that have used so far, the M-4 automatic rifles will be part of the armament of our light infantry, which is also our NATO unit that is preparing for the upcoming NATO evaluation at the beginning of 2022.
“This is part of a larger project funded by the US Government that helps modernize and equip our army forces. With this equipment, we practically provide over 1,200 M-4 automatic rifles with 5.56 caliber, which is a standard of NATO member states,” said Minister Radmila Shekerinska at today’s handover of the donation, where she was accompanied by the US Ambassador to our country, Kate Marie Byrnes.
The Minister pointed out that in a period of only one week several activities demonstrate how wide is the defense cooperation between North Macedonia and the United States. A week ago, she said, the joint investments for the development of the training area were presented in Krivolak, and only a few days ago a new and comprehensive Memorandum of Defense Cooperation was signed, and today we are taking over the new M-4 rifles for the members of our Army.
The Minister said that significant sums of money have been allocated from the defense budget for the modernization of our army capacities and that it is a success because it means that the process is continuous. “This year, for the first time, we managed to provide not only an increase in the defense budget, but also an increase in the percentage that will go towards equipment and modernization, and instead of the required 20 percent, we provided 25 percent for modernization and equipment. We, as an ally, have taken on responsibilities and are fulfilling them. We have already started the modernization with large projects, such as light armored vehicles coming from the United States, from where we have constant support both financially and in equipment,” the Minister stated.
US Ambassador Kate Marie Byrnes said in her statement that the handover of $ 1.2 million worth of automatic rifles was another example of how the two countries work together, ensuring interoperability not only with the United States, but also with other Alliance forces. . Ambassador Byrnes said that this was a recognition of the commitment of North Macedonia to implement a major project, such as the modernization of the Army, a commitment with which the Army is not only a more prepared and active NATO member, but also an Army that is well positioned to contribute together with other NATO forces. The United States, the Ambassador said, will continue to be a strategic partner of our country in the further process of military modernization.