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Thursday, January 18, 2018, 

DM Sekerinska: Macedonia to increase defense budget in 2018, participation in Afghan mission

DM Sekerinska: Macedonia to increase defense budget in 2018, participation in Afghan mission

Brussels, 27 September 2017 (MIA) - The Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, Radmila Sekerinska and Nikola Dimitrov respectively, are in Brussels on Wednesday for the meeting of the North Atlantic Council with the Republic of Macedonia (NAC + 1).

The meeting with Ambassadors of the North Atlantic Council chaired by NATO Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller, is focused on the 17th cycle of Macedonia's NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) and the government’s results in fulfilling  NATO's membership requirements.

In 2018 Macedonia will increase its defense budget and participation in the Afghan 'Resolute Response' mission for 0.2 and 20.00 percent respectively, Sekerinska said at a joint press conference with Dimitrov and Gottemoeller.

'We are here for the 17th cycle of Macedonia's NATO MAP. I can say that Macedonia's government is determined to return on the road of reforms and the EU, NATO accession. The government is dedicated to implementing the 3-6-9 plan for democratic reforms, such as the rule of law, free media, independent judiciary, professional administration...' Sekerinska said.

She said the government decided to draft a new defense strategy and strategic defense review, which would set the guidelines for Macedonia to better respond to the security challenges.

Today's meeting in Brussels addressed the Western Balkan security and stability, political developments and reform progress in Macedonia, the government said in a press release.

Gottemoeller extended gratitude to Macedonia over its participation in the Afghan mission, saying that the country is respected NATO partner.

'The reforms that strengthen the good governance, rule of law in your multiethnic society are beneficial for all citizens. The reform progress requires time and hard work, but we are aware that they will be rather beneficial to your country on its road to realizing the Euro-Atlantic aspirations,' Gottemoeller told the press conference.

NATO, she said, wishes to see for Macedonia to realize its aspirations as a successfully integrated country in a stable and prosperous region.

'NATO doors remain open and the Alliance will keep supporting your nation on its road to membership,' Gottemoeller said.

FM Dimitrov referred to the success of the new Macedonian democracy for political change in a environment of institutional, even moral crisis.

"We have decided to invest in democracy for the last few years to never happen again. We wish for free media, functional parliament, independent judiciary as (Macedonia) is a country that shares the same values as the Alliance members. We shall offer the Alliance more reasons why Macedonia should be 30th NATO member,' Dimitrov said.

Speaking about Macedonia's contribution to regional cooperation, Dimitrov notified the country's friendship treaty with Bulgaria. 'We are a country that builds bridges and see the region through the standpoint - whether to succeed together or not,' he said. lk/17:44

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