Macedonia faced with hybrid threats: conference

Macedonia faced with hybrid threats: conference

Skopje, 12 September 2018 (MIA) - Security threats that countries are faced with are no longer conventional but hybrid. The best way to defend is to increase the awareness, cooperate with partners and other international organizations, heard conference "Stabilizing Effects of Euro-Atlantic Integration: Working Together against Hybrid Threats" in Skopje on Wednesday.

"Macedonia's experience shows that the country has never faced a crisis because of one type of threats or hazards, but when different types of threats and weaknesses overlap. This experience needs to be taken into consideration at the time when we are facing one of the biggest challenges in our history - the referendum - at which citizens should take a decision on the removal of the final obstacle on the road to full-fledged NATO membership and accelerated EU integration," said Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska.

She said Macedonia is faced with hybrid threats in the form of dark propaganda, vilifying national and international institutions, as well as distorting he country's legitimate interests.

"I am convinced that we will cope with this type of threats, because citizens know what kind of a country they want and where it belongs. Our task is to open this path and be leaders not followers," added Sekerinska.

According to her, this is a historic chance, which if missed, will not repeat in the coming couple of decades.

"Being a country on the Balkans and the failure to undertake all required steps towards enhancing the stability and security of citizens, strengthening the territorial integrity and sovereignty is irresponsible and adventurous," noted Sekerinska.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs State Secretary Viktor Dimovski said hybrid threats come from countries that want to achieve their own interests.

"The region is not resistant to these threats, and despite being surrounded by EU and NATO member-states, it is more vulnerable compared to other regions due to historic and geostrategic constellations. Therefore, the main argument against the so-called gray zones of insecurity is the region's complete integration in NATO and EU," said Dimovski.

He added that the key in this struggle is continual collection, sharing and assessment of information by strategic partners, for the purpose of timely detection and rejection of current and new hybrid activities.

Michael Gaul, chairman of the Partnership for Peace Consortium Emerging Security Challenges Working Group, said international support for Macedonia is more than clear and big powers support the country in its goal of Euro-Atlantic integration.

Gaul believes that the best way for countries to defend from hybrid threats is to increase the level of awareness, to cooperate with partners and other international organizations.

Jean-Marc Rickli, leader of the Geneva Center for Security Policy's Global Risk and Resilience Cluster, said Macedonia is a small country that cannot allow itself to deal with these types of threats, which endanger even great powers.

"You cannot build a wall around you to protect yourselves. This belongs to the past. You cannot build walls in the cyber-dimension, because the main actors in these threats use both human and non-human resources," said Rickli.

Croatian Ambassador Danijela Barisic believes Macedonia's NATO invitation is a proof of the Alliance's open-door policy.

Referring to hybrid threats, Barisic said new technology has brought about many benefits, but also great risks. According to her, the strategic weapon of hybrid threats are fake news, which spread faster than other news, because those who release them most often do not abide by the laws. ik/13:53

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