Today, Minister Radmila Shekerinska attended the ceremony on the occasion of the beginning of the training of the Light Infantry Battalion Group located in the Jane Sandanski barracks in Shtip, which will be performed by the 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade, i.e. the 4th SFAB.
At the ceremony, which was attended by US Ambassador Kate Marie Byrns, the SFAB team, the Chief of the General Staff Vasko Gjurcinoski and other representatives of the Army, as well as the US Embassy, the Minister expressed her satisfaction that North Macedonia was one of the five European countries that are utilizing this American assistance.
“This is the first time the US Army has used the 4th SFAB to assist security forces in Europe, and it is no coincidence that one of the five countries that have received this support is North Macedonia”, said Shekerinska.
The US training, she said, is one of the most prestigious in the world of military skills and she congratulated the LIBG and the Engineering Battalion on having the opportunity to grow professionally and rise under the brigade’s mentorship.
“I am convinced that this cooperation will end successfully and that the real crown will be the NATO assessment of this important composition”, said Minister Shekerinska.
“The efforts for a bigger budget and greater importance of the Army paid off because we saw how much our Army can grow, develop, and proudly bear the name of a NATO Army. Shtip should be especially proud of that. It is a good coincidence that we are here today, thus placing the focus on the importance of Shtip exactly on the day the city is celebrating its liberation”, said Shekerinska, underlining that the Light Infantry Battalion Group will “defend” the colours of our homeland in NATO.
Ambassador Byrns in her address stressed that the choice of North Macedonia to receive support from SFAB was a reflection of the excellent reputation that officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the Army have as ready and capable partners.
“Today’s event is a celebration of a significant achievement in the relations for defence cooperation between the two nations. As senior leaders considered where to best employ the SFAB, it is no surprise that one of the five countries they chose was North Macedonia. This is a critical time as you all go through a historic military modernization and transformation to meet NATO Capability Targets”, said Ambassador Byrns.
The Commander of the Operations Command, Besnik Emini, also addressed the event, saying that this assistance increases the military efficiency and the general benefits for the country.
The United States is sending 40 instructors divided into three teams, which will remain in North Macedonia until the end of March.