The burgeoning military-to-military relationship between the United States and North Macedonia, continued U.S. commitment to the mutual defense of Europe and North Macedonia’s impending accession into the NATO alliance were among the topics discussed in a meeting at the Pentagon between Defense Minister of North Macedonia Radmila Sekerinska and Katie L. Wheelbarger, the U.S. acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.
Here are three things to know about the U.S.-North Macedonia relationship:
It’s a Long-Standing Partnership
North Macedonia and the Vermont National Guard have worked together since 1993 under the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program. In 1995, North Macedonia joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace initiative. Today, North Macedonia is a strong contributor to the NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Its military also is a partner in regional initiatives to enhance cooperation and security in the Western Balkans, which includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. North Macedonia is increasing defense spending, with a clear plan to invest 2 percent of its gross domestic product in defense by 2024, in line with the level agreed upon by all NATO members.
More Cooperation is on the Horizon
Moving forward, the United States is committed to increasing partner capacity with North Macedonia and regional integration for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief events — one of the greatest challenges facing Western Hemisphere nations.
North Macedonia’s NATO Accession
At the alliance’s summit in July, the 29 NATO nations invited North Macedonia to start its membership accession process to join NATO. Once all 29 NATO allies ratify the accession protocol, North Macedonia will become the alliance’s 30th member. The United States, along with NATO allies and partners, are supporting efforts by countries like North Macedonia to achieve peace and prosperity for their people, to chart their own course, and to build the resilience necessary to resist Russian influence and meddling, Pentagon officials said. The U.S. supports North Macedonia’s efforts to achieve full Euro-Atlantic integration, implement judicial reforms, strengthen its democratic institutions, combat corruption and develop a competitive free-market economy, they added.
- March 7, 2019 at 7:19 pm by USA Editor (displayed above)
- March 7, 2019 at 7:19 pm by USA Editor