Regarding its defence strategy, based upon the basic principles of the national security and national defence, Republic of Macedonia relies on the collective defence and security systems.
Therefore, the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, on November 23, 1993 passed a decision for NATO full membership. Based upon that decision which was reached by full consensus of all the parliamentary and non-parliamentary political parties and by a huge support of the civilians and all the structures and institutions in the state, the preparations for meeting the required standards and criteria for NATO membership have been started.
Based upon the unified efforts, the Republic of Macedonia was one of the first countries which welcomed the PfP initiative in January 1994 and expressed its determination to join.
In November 1995, the Republic of Macedonia became a full member country of the NATO initiative – the Partnership for Peace. Two years after the Partnership was promoted, Republic of Macedonia was given the chance to prove that it is both willing and capable of being an equal member.
Immediately after it has joined the PfP, Republic of Macedonia has developed the Individual Partnership Programme in the shortest time possible. The IPP was verified by the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and by the NATO Political Committee in March 1996, and it was highly appreciated as a contribution to the stability and the security of the region and as a proof of the role of the Republic of Macedonia as a significant factor in that respect.
This created conditions for the Republic of Macedonia to become an active participant in all of the joint activities of the PfP and NATO.
In meantime, a unit composed of professional soldiers at a battalion level was being trained. This unit has equipment which is compatible with the NATO standards and it has achieved a high level of interoperability through all of its activities.
At the same time, Macedonia has started to send its own delegations at the conferences in Brussels and started to participate in exercises within the PfP framework.
The dialogue between Macedonia and NATO on the NATO Enlargement Study was started in May 1996. At these sessions the views of Macedonia were presented as well as its capabilities to contribute to the enlargement of the European security. Thus, together with 11 other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Macedonia has definitely become a candidate for equal membership in the Alliance.
In June 1996, by an exchange of diplomatic notes between the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Macedonia, the SOFA was signed. This agreement arranges the status of the forces between the NATO and PfP member countries. That same month the agreement was ratified by the Macedonian Parliament.
Since July 1996, Macedonia has its own representatives in NATO – liaison officers in Brussels and at the PCC in Mons.
Since January 1997, Macedonia has become a member of the Planning and Review Process – PARP which increased the level of co-operation with the PfP and NATO member countries a