Defense Minister reaffirms Macedonia’s readiness for NATO

DM Elenovski: Macedonia meets basic requirements for NATO entry

(Skopje)  In an interview with the Macedonian radio, the Defense Minister of the Republic of Macedonia Lazar Elenovskistates that Macedonia meets basic requirements for NATO accession and is ready to become a part of the Euro-Atlantic orgnaization.

“I believe that before this historic act every Macedonian citizen should also possess a feeling of responsibility, especially among political elites. This is a big step and I think that we all have to work hard for it”, says Minister Elenovski regarding the NATO Bucharest Summit, where Macedonia is expected to receive the membership invitation.

Minister Elenovski also discussed the Macedonian Army reforms where he stressed that a professional, multi-ethnic army has been created, equipped in line with modern NATO standards, while the transformation process resumes. “There are huge challenges ahead. All international representatives have positively assessed Macedonia’s participation in peacekeeping missions, which is one of our trump cards for NATO entry”, adds Elenovski.

According to him, fight against terrorism has drastically changed the philosophy of modern warring, being one of the basic characteristics of an army’s structure. Asked if the European Commission report, due to be published in about two months-time, would have a direct effect on Macedonia’s invitation for NATO accession, DM Elenovski emphasizes that these are two institutions sharing mutual values, but are different according to their specifics. 

“Still, NATO is a military-political organization, while the European Union has a more complex structure. Therefore, in essence they are identical, but the requirements are different. This can be depicted as a specter that spreads the complexity of the matter – NATO goes up to a certain degree, while the European Union moves further”, says Elenovski.

Regarding the European joint security policy, he stresses the good cooperation with European partners, where several ideas have been initiated for inclusion in large EU security projects, such as the European Union combat structures.

“We have claimed our readiness to enter into this operation and we expect the response from the European partners. Taking into account that Bosnia mission ‘Althea’, in which we have taken part for two years, is an EU-led mission, we are already showing a high degree of cooperation with those Union security structures”, states Minister Elenovski.

He adds that every Macedonian should be proud when seeing that a small country such as Macedonia participates in four military operations throughout the world, while each foreigner should show respect.

“This is constantly emphasized by our allies, because it represents sharing of mutual values and NATO’s basic principle of solidarity. We are part of all crucial crisis points on a global level and this must be appreciated,” underscores DM Elenovski.

The United Macedonian Diaspora supports the Republic of Macedonia’s NATO bid and encourages reforms to continue, particularly in the judiciary.  UMD will continue to advocate in favor of the admission of Macedonia into NATO in 2008.

Portions of the article are courtesy of MIA.