On the first day of her US working visit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Radmila Shekerinska met with representatives of the Pentagon, participated in the NATO Building Integrity Conference and held a presentation at the prestigious National Defense University. “The goal of the visit is to secure support for the acceleration of the process of ratification of the Protocol for membership”, the Minister said.
“In the past year we succeeded in securing our strategic goals, getting the NATO membership invitation, completing the accession talks, obtaining a signed Accession Protocol. It is now necessary with the same concentration, energy and commitment, to show domestic results, but also to ensure rapid ratification of the Protocol. The key goal during our visit to Washington is precisely that, to ensure and continue the dia-logue with the representatives of the executive branch, but also to meet with senators, congressmen and influential persons and think-tank organizations, that can speed up and facilitate the ratification process”, Shekerinska said in Washington.
At the Building Integrity Conference, which was held under the motto “Building Strong and Resilient Institutions for Strengthening our Partnerships”, on a panel with NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy – Ambassador Alejandro Alvargonzález, Shekerinska discussed the challenges related with transparency, accountability and integrity in the field of defence. “This is a very positive sign that, precisely on this topic, NATO called us to talk about the policies necessary to build integrity in the country and in the defence, policies that create trust among the citizens. According to civilian sector surveys, in one year the Ministry of Defence has made a big leap and is ranked among the top three institutions in the country in terms of transparency, accountability and integrity, which is the best evidence of the success of reforms and the most effective manner of fighting corruption”, the Minister said .
The NATO Building Integrity Conference is a regular event that is held every second year, where senior representatives of NATO and partner member states, NGOs, international organizations and experts exchange views on best practices in the fight against corruption and strengthening of the integrity of institutions .
On the sidelines of the Conference Shekerinska held a brief meeting with Ambassador Alvargonzález, where he reaffirmed the support for fully-fledged membership of the country and voiced hope for quicker ratification of the Accession Protocol.
Minister Shekerinska also addressed the prestigious National Defense University on the topic “The Republic of North Macedonia in NATO – Intensifying Security in the Balkans”, where she talked about the step forward in the integration processes, and the contribution to regional stability and the economic effect of NATO membership. She stressed that the progress is a result of the strong leadership of the government that managed to close the open issues with the neighbours and to carry out reforms. The Minister addressed the students, academic community and representatives of think-tank organizations, responded to questions related with the regional stability and the role of North Macedonia as an exporter of stability and leader of positive changes in the region.
Prior to her address, Minister Shekerinska also met with the President of the University – Vice Admiral Fritz Roegge, with whom she discussed the fruitful cooperation thus far in the field of defence education and the possibilities for its further intensification in the field of cyber security.
By invitation of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Joseph L. Lengyel, Shekerinska, accompanied by the Chief of General Staff, Vasko Gjurchinovski, attended the reception on the occasion of the strategic partnership of our Army with the Vermont National Guard. During the reception, which was attended by distinguished guests from the Vermont National Guard, the Pentagon and the National Defense University, the strong support for the membership of North Macedonia in NATO and the quicker ratification of the Accession Protocol was reaffirmed.