Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska had a phone call this afternoon with US Assistant Secretary of Defense, Laura Cooper. During the conversation Shekerinska and the US high representative for defence referred to the anniversary of North Macedonia’s membership in NATO, the political – security situation in the region and the plans for defence cooperation.
Minister Shekerinska sent congratulations to the new administration and the nomination of the new Secretary of Defense and expressed expectations that the alliance and defence cooperation will continue to increase. “North Macedonia has successfully passed the test of the first year of NATO membership. The defence budget is growing steadily, with an emphasis on spending on the modernization of our capacities. The military integration in NATO is proceeding according to the planned dynamics and will be completed by the end of the year. After many years of participation in NATO missions in the Middle East, we are also turning to the region and participating in the KFOR mission”, Minister Shekerinska said in the conversation.
The conversation focused on the “Decisive Strike 21″ exercise, which will be hosted by our country, and the United States is the largest contributor to the logistics and realization of this multilateral exercise, where Greece and Bulgaria will also take part. “To host Decisive Strike 21 is a great recognition of the defence capacities of our Army and our country, especially because its realization is in close partnership with the United States and is an expression of the deep mutual trust between the two countries”, the Minister pointed out and added that the alliance between North Macedonia and the United States has strategic meaning for the entire region.
US Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper welcomed the joint activities in the field of defence and expressed confidence that the upcoming exercise “Decisive Strike 21″, where the United States has a large role, will be successful. She said that with the arrival of the new administration, Washington remains focused on supporting the progress of the Western Balkan countries on their Euro-Atlantic path.