Shekerinska-Peleshi: Close defence co-operation and unity in the Alliance strengthen regional security

At the invitation of Minister of Defence Radmila Shekerinska the Albanian Minister of Defence, Niko Peleshi, is today on his first official visit to North Macedonia.
At the meeting at the Ministry, Ministers Shekerinska and Peleshi agreed that North Macedonia and Albania, as allied countries in the Alliance are facing today greater potential and opportunities for developing their cooperation. In that spirit, the Ministers agreed that a new and comprehensive Bilateral Cooperation Agreement should be initiated to enable even more intensive and closer defence cooperation.

Minister Shekerinska said that North Macedonia strongly believes in regional defence development through close cooperation and investment in specific capabilities that would be made available to the allies.

“Smart defence is the most efficient and best way forward. North Macedonia is developing niche capabilities that we offer to all allies, and one of them is the Regional Center for Public Affairs and Debunking Disinformation. “We are open for close cooperation in the framework of joint training and military education, and we are working on intensifying military exercises as the best way to develop interoperability in NATO,” said Shekerinska.

Minister Peleshi said that the Albanian Military Academy is in the phase of reorganization and development following the example of the world’s best military schools. The two Ministers agreed that an exchange of students from the two countries’ military academies should be allowed.

“We are neighbours and allies. I hope that defence cooperation will intensify and a number of joint projects will be implemented. “Complementarity is crucial,” said Minister Peleshi.

Shekerinska and Peleshi also discussed the integration of the two countries in the European Union, and pointed out the need for opening of the negotiations for both North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible.

“With our sincere bilateral cooperation, with the intensive participation in regional initiatives, we as NATO member states protect the Euro-Atlantic values in the region. Our defence and allied cooperation strengthens security in the region and sends another message – the place of Albania and North Macedonia in the EU is well deserved,” the Minister said, adding that the countries have delivered, now it is the Union’s turn to deliver.

Ministers Shekerinska and Peleshi also discussed the challenges posed by climate change and natural disasters and agreed that countries need to count on each other in such crises because no country alone can develop sufficient capacity to respond quickly to large-scale disasters.

The official visit of the Albanian Minister of Defence takes place only one day after the SEDM Ministerial meeting and 15 days after the joint participation of Ministers Shekerinska and Peleshi in the meetings of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. The intensive contacts at the highest level between the two countries show that both North Macedonia and Albania are extremely committed to the development of bilateral defence cooperation, which strengthens security in the region, and the cooperation is intensive and active within the Alliance as well.

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