Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska met at the Pentagon with her US counterpart, Patrick Shanahan, who is serving as the acting US Secretary of Defence.
The strategic partnership between the United States and the Republic of North Macedonia was confirmed at the meeting. Shekerinska and Shanahan agreed to further expand the defence co-operation and raise it to a higher level that becomes alliance allies. “We are continuing together, with joint participation in peace missions and even closer cooperation in the reform process and in the modernization of the Army” they stated at the meeting.
The head of US defence conveyed his congratulations on the successful settlement of the dispute with Greece and said it was a model for settling disputes between two countries that seemed unsolvable for a long time.
This is the third bilateral meeting of Minister Shekerinska with a US Secretary of Defence in less than a year. Last spring, the Minister paid an official visit to her US counterpart, James Mattis, who returned the visit and arrived in Skopje in September 2018. The Minister met with his successor, Shanahan, in Brussels at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, where he welcomed the signing of the Accession Protocol for our country and acknowledged the Minister for her, as he put it, “inspirational leadership”.
In Washington, the Minister held separate meetings with Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Senator Ron Johnson. Shekerinska urged them to support the faster ratification of the NATO Accession Protocol.
Minister Shekerinska rounded up the second day of her working visit with a meeting with the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director, Lieutenant General Robert Ashley. The meeting focused on the security situation in the Balkans and beyond and on the positive effect that North Macedonia’s NATO membership will have on the security in the region.