First highest level meeting with the new US administration: Shekerinska meets with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III
Despite the strict COVID -19 measures for restrictions on meetings with physical presence, a meeting between Minister of Defense Radmila Shekerinska and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III was held in Washington, DC.
The meeting took place in an exceptionally friendly atmosphere, during which the Minister briefed the US Secretary of Defense on the current processes in the defense sphere and emphasized the positions of North Macedonia in the geopolitical processes in the region.
Emphasizing the success achieved with the membership of North Macedonia in NATO, the Minister pointed out that it the result of strict policy, brave decisions, but also the outstanding commitment and work in defense which have borne, in the past 30 years, a strong American mark.
“The United States has been and remains our strongest supporter and strategic partner throughout our independence,” she said.
Expressing satisfaction with the meeting, Secretary of Defense Austin stressed that the alliance with North Macedonia is highly valued and is extremely important for the United States. He expressed is gratitude for the long-term partnership and cooperation in defense and stressed that it will continue to develop with even stronger intensity.
The Minister also touched upon the European integration process and assessed that the stalemate does not go in favor of the efforts for a stable Western Balkans.
“The stalemate in the European integration of North Macedonia undermines the trust in European values and in the brave decisions we have made as a country to remove the obstacles on that path. I believe that a strong and coordinated European and American engagement would lead to a positive movement and overcoming of the status quo in the process, which will restore confidence and prevent the influence of third parties,” Shekerinska said.
In Pentagon, Shekerinska also met with Colin Kahl, Under Secretary for Policy. The meeting focused on the situation in Afghanistan, the new challenges in cyber security, the blockade of the negotiation process with the EU and the joint development of Krivolak as a NATO military training area.