“Our participation at the meetings of the Alliance was the part of a NATO member which proved that the rapid progress is possible and that the plans and promises can be kept”, said Minister Shekerinska on the second day of the meetings of the North Atlantic Council.
She gave a statement before the new premises of the mission of North Macedonia in the NATO Headquarters.
“Behind me are our premises as a NATO member country and we expect that the preparations for our mission here would be completed in the second half of March. This means that our mission, both the political and the defence part will be virtually part of the NATO headquarters, as we, the Republic of North Macedonia, will be officially part of the Alliance”, said Minister Shekerinska .
Prior to the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Minister Shekerinska met with the Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and expressed her gratitude for the continued support of friendly Turkey regarding our membership to NATO.
“Our proven cooperation is being transformed from a partnership into an alliance”, said Minister Shekerinska.
Minister Akar said that the two countries have very close, friendly relations and that the support and cooperation will continue with high intensity, both bilaterally and as part of NATO. This cooperation, he said, is to the benefit of both countries.
Today, the meetings of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Ministers of Defence were dedicated to the defence budgeting and the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
At the meeting about the defence budget, Minister Shekerinska underlined that the funds for the defence have continued to increase since 2017 and that this year the budget has almost doubled compared with the budget for 2017. North Macedonia, she stressed, is committed to implementing the recommendations of NATO concerning the allocation of two percent of the gross domestic product for the defence, which has already had a positive effect on the defence capabilities of the country, and the NATO Alliance as well.
At the meeting of the NATO defence ministers and partners contributing to Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, Minister Shekerinska said that the country remains committed to the main objective of this mission – a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan.
On the sidelines of the Brussels meeting, today, Minister Shekerinska organized a working lunch with the defence ministers of Greece, Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria, to which she expressed gratitude for their support in the process of attaining the full-fledged membership in the Alliance. The defence ministers sent a message that the region proved that it had the capacity to be a peace and stability provider and that the countries know how to cooperate and contribute to the collective security of the Euro-Atlantic area.