Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska and US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Mara Karlin, signed a new Memorandum of Defence Cooperation between North Macedonia and the United States in Skopje and Washington. The signing of the Memorandum at the Ministry of Defence was attended by US Ambassador Kate Byrnes.
The new Memorandum reflects the extremely close defence cooperation between the two countries, which has become more and more intense in recent years and replaces the existing Memorandum of Cooperation, which was signed back in 1994.
The memorandum foresees the advancement of the strategic partnership through joint trainings and exercises, improving the possibilities for the fight against terrorism, more intensive exchange in professional military education, as well as the improvement of interoperability.
After the signing of the Memorandum, Shekerinska and Karlin agreed in a telephone conversation that the Memorandum is proof of the mutual commitment to develop the defence cooperation at the bilateral level, but also as countries – allies in NATO. During the conversation satisfaction was expressed with the increased cooperation between North Macedonia and the United States in terms of modernization and equipping of the Army, joint trainings and exercises, joint participation in NATO missions and cooperation in the development of the Krivolak Military Range into a NATO capacity. On the eve of 27 March, Minister Shekerinska received congratulations from the senior representative of the Pentagon, Karlin, for the upcoming anniversary of the membership of North Macedonia in NATO.
The defence cooperation between North Macedonia and the United States is an example of strategic cooperation between two countries that are now NATO allies. The United States is one of the biggest supporters of the development of the Macedonian Armed Forces in the last three decades. During this period, through the program for foreign military assistance, our armed forces have received equipment from the United States valued at over 150 million dollars. More than 800 members of the Army and defence personnel have attended training and education programs at higher US military schools and training centres.
An example of the extremely high level of trust between the armies of the two countries is the joint participation in peacekeeping missions, such as the “Iraqi Freedom” operation, the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, where in the special operation “Phoenix”, Army troops were deployed in teams together with members of the Vermont National Guard, with whom we have been working intensively for 27 years, as well as the ongoing “Resolute Support” mission.
In the second half of May of this year, bilateral defence consultations will be held between defence experts from the Ministry and the Pentagon, which will be another opportunity to exchange new initiatives.