The Republic of Macedonia sees NATO as one of the key pillars of the modern European security architecture. In that sense, Macedonia strongly supports the efforts of NATO to transform its defence policy by improvement of the stability and the co-operation within the Euro-Atlantic area.
Republic of Macedonia regards its membership in NATO as a permanent commitment.
With regard to that, there is a wide political and social consensus in the country. The decision results from our strategic determination to actively participate in the development of a wider security architecture within the Euro-Atlantic region.
As far as the future of NATO is concerned, Macedonia’ s view is that NATO is a solid guarantee for the global European security and stability and it is a foundation for the new European security architecture. These security frames would include NATO, internally adapted and enlarged by more member countries, the Enhanced PfP and the EAPC.
Macedonia considers its contribution to the enlargement and to the enhancement of the security in this part of the continent within the new European security architecture. In accordance with the shared views in Brussels, Republic of Macedonia is one of the most active members of the PfP and actively contributes to the promotion and to the implementation of the Partnership goals, by which it directly participates in the building of the new conditions dominated by the co-operation, interoperability, dialogue as well as the confidence and security building measures among the states as a necessary pre-requirement in the security development in the South-eastern part of Europe.
The initiative for regional co-operation within the Southeastern part of Europe is a good concept, but it should be operationalised as an integral part of the building process of the new European security architecture in the spirit of the Madrid document. The Ministerials of the Defence Ministers of South-eastern Europe, which are held on annual basis, contribute to that process. So far, two Ministerials were held, the first one in Tirana – March 1996, the second one in Sofia – October 1997 and the third one will be held in September 1998 in Skopje.
Within the Partnership for Peace, the Republic of Macedonia has established a good military co-operation with the countries in the region and primarily with its neighbours. The soldiers of the Macedonian Army have participated in several NATO sponsored exercises together with the soldiers of the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Greece, the Republic of Slovenia, Romania as well as with the soldiers of the USA, Turkey and Italy. The exercise “Rescuer ’97″ was among these exercises. All of these exercises promoted the PfP spirit.
We are prepared to host other exercises of the kind, but we are also prepared, within the PfP, to establish a permanent peacekeeping training centre located in Krivolak. This centre would be used for training of the NATO and EAPC member countries for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. Considering the UNPREDEP mission experience, we believe that we have a lot to offer and a lot to give regarding the peacekeeping training for the needs of the Alliance.
All these concepts, as well as the priority related to the confidence and security building measures with the neighbours, the co-operation within the defence area with the countries from the region and the NATO and EAPC member countries are the pillars upon which the MoD will proceed on actively participating and contributing in the interest of building processes of the new European security architecture.
In the first round of the enlargement, the Alliance was joined only by three new members – Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, but according to Washington D.C. and Brussels, the doors remain open for all the aspirants that are willing to join NATO. We consider the concept of the NATO enlargement as being a process and not a one-time deal, as a direction towards the enlargement of the security zone in whole Europe and towards the strengthening of the security of all the states on the continent.
Regarding that, we think that the security zone should be extended towards the south of Europe, to be more exact, towards the countries which should belong to the southern flank of NATO. That way the Alliance would strengthen its southern flank and the countries which would be admitted as NATO members, including Macedonia, could make more constructive contributions to the peace and security production in the south-eastern European region.
We believe that, considering the last events and its own transformation, NATO is growing into a security system that could most efficiently respond to the new challenges and threats to the peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic region.