SACEUR in Skopje
Minister, thank you very much.
Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here today…a nation with a rich history that shares
NATO’s interest for security in Europe.
We have just had some very productive discussions. . .
NATO appreciates Skopje’s key role in promoting peace and stability in this
And Minister, I want to note that your troops, that their
training and discipline that they displayed and also note they are using NATO
standards, NATO procedures . . . it’s noted. And I applaud what they demonstrated today.
The Alliance also values Skopje’s contributions to NATO operations in
Afghanistan. Your armed forces deployed troops in support of the NATO-led
International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2014.
Today, your troops are supporting
the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, whose mandate is to train, advise and
assist the Afghan Security Forces.
I actually look forward to meeting
some of those military members and personally thank them for their selfless
service and commitment a little later today.
Skopje’s willingness to take a
leadership role in the Western Balkans is demonstrated by their participation
in many regional initiatives to enhance cooperation and security. All this
makes the Euro-Atlantic area safer and more secure.
Through its long Partnership with
NATO, your nation has already achieved significant progress in defense related
reforms and military interoperability with Allies. Acknowledging the
historic Alliance invitation to begin accession talks to join NATO, we
recognize that challenges remain and there is much work ahead. We look forward to providing our practical
support to your military authorities in the accession process.
We are confident that addressing these challenges and a successful accession to the Alliance
will be met with significant benefits to you. Just as the Minister outlined.
Countries that have
joined the Alliance have been able to strengthen their democracy, boost their
security, and make the lives of their citizens safer.
In closing, I would like
to thank Skopje and its people for their contributions in our shared
security. Your nation is building a
bright future and is making progress.
NATO shares your commitment to democracy, rule of law as
well as security and stability in the region. Your continued support is
important not just for the Western Balkans, but for the whole of Europe. Thank
you very much and I look forward to your accession as the 30thNation in NATO in the future.