- Wednesday, September 12, 2018 12:08 PM
Skopje, 12 September 2018 (MIA) - Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska met Wednesday with James Appathurai, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, who is visiting Macedonia within the process of the country's accession talks to the Alliance.
Minister Sekerinska said the Government has been committed over the past year to three significant issues - the Bulgaria Friendship Treaty, the name issue with Greece and interethnic relations in the country. Regarding the NATO membership, she added that ministry teams are prepared to start the accession talks and the process is moving as planned, said the Defense Ministry in a press release.
"The accession talks, which represent one of the final steps prior to full-fledged NATO membership, will help us stay focused, work hard and choose the real priorities. Drafting of the Strategic Defense Review, as a key document, has launched the discussions on reforms in the defense sector that we are prepared to implement", said Sekerinska.
She added that the focus of the defense sector has always been to improve working conditions of Macedonian Army (ARM) members. This is seen through this year's increase of the defense budget by 15 percent, along with plans for its further increase, up to two percent of the GDP.
Deputy Assistant Secretary General Appathurai congratulated Macedonia on its leadership in the region, saying the country has made an enormous turnaround in a short period, with its goodneighborly policy stimulating regional countries to give strong support its Alliance accession.
Apparthurai offered NATO's support and assistance regarding the budget spending issue and expressed gratitude for Macedonia's continual contribution to the Alliance's peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, reads the press release. ik/12:04
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