In Brussels Minister Shekerinska met with Greek counterpart Panagiotopoulos and Estonian Minister Luik

On the eve of the first session of the joint meeting of the North Atlantic Council, dedicated to operations and missions of the Alliance, yesterday afternoon, Minister Shekerinska held bilateral meetings with her counterparts, the defence ministers of Greece, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, and Estonia, Jüri Luik.

At the meeting with the newly appointed Greek Defence Minister Panagiotopoulos, Shekerinska stressed that both countries should build close bilateral relations and that the cooperation in the field of defence will contribute to this. The two Ministers welcomed the implementation of the Air Policing Mission by the Greek Air Force, for which the Chiefs of the General Staff of both Armies signed a Technical Arrangement, last month.

“The Prespa Agreement opened the door for NATO membership and the reforms secured our membership. Both North Macedonia and Greece have the same interests – safe, stable and economically secure region”, said Minister Shekerinska expressing her appreciation for the Greek support in the opening of the accession negotiations at the recent EU summit.

Greek Defence Minister Panagiotopoulos, said that with mutual respect and in good faith, the two countries have a chance to build a better future for their citizens. The Agreement on defence cooperation, he said, opens many opportunities for cooperation, and the members of both armies will be better able to learn, practice and improve together as allies. Panagiotopoulos agreed that in order to be peaceful and stable the Balkans needs to have sincere and good relations between its neighbours.

At the meeting with the Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik, Minister Shekerinska expressed her gratitude for the fast ratification of the accession protocol by the officials in Tallinn, and noted that this process continues to move with remarkable speed – parliaments of 26 member countries have already completed the ratification process.

Minister Luik said that Estonia is eagerly awaiting the day when North Macedonia will be a full-fledged member of NATO, and in the context of the European Union, he said that the country needed to obtain a positive decision and that this was just a phase that would be overcome.

At the joint meeting of defence ministers of NATO member countries Minister Shekerinska said that North Macedonia is fully committed to the values of the Alliance, as well as to its contribution to NATO-led missions and operations. At the meeting, Minister Shekerinska expressed her gratitude for the consistency of the Alliance regarding the fast ratification of the Accession Protocol for NATO which passed in the parliaments of 26 member countries.

The meetings of defence ministers in Brussels attended by Minister Shekerinska continue today.