On November 28, 2016, United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) President Metodija A. Koloski met with Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Yee at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. DAS Yee is a distinguished career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, having previously served in Afghanistan, Croatia, Greece, and Montenegro with stints on the White House National Security Council and at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
UMD President Koloski and DAS Yee discussed the upcoming early parliamentary elections in Macedonia that will take place on December 11, 2016 – a key critical test to Macedonia’s future, especially Euro-Atlantic integration. The two agreed that rule of law, and the people’s trust in the judicial process, as well as independence of the judiciary, is of utmost importance – an area UMD believes is the largest impediment to Macedonia’s future progress, having organized conferences in Washington, D.C. and Skopje to this effect.
As stated in the 2008 Declaration of Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Between the United States of America and the Republic of Macedonia, intensifying people-to-people ties are a priority for both nations. In this regard, UMD views the role of the Macedonian-American community as a catalyst in enhancing these people-to-people ties. UMD encourages Macedonian-Americans to get involved in its work in actively furthering the strategic U.S.-Macedonia relationship.
Over the past two decades, the U.S. has contributed over $1 billion to aid Macedonia’s political, military, and socio-economic development. UMD President thanked DAS Yee for his commitment to see a beneficial U.S.-Macedonia strategic partnership and a Macedonia fully embedded within Euro-Atlantic structures.*
*Even though Macedonia is not yet formally a member of NATO, it has staunchly stood by the U.S. for the past two decades, by participating in the Partnership for Peace program, hosting the NATO Logistical Support Center for Kosovo Forces, and welcoming over 50,000 Bosnian refugees during early 90s and around 400,000 Kosovar refugees in 1999. Macedonia was the fourth largest per capita troop contributor to our ISAF mission protecting the tent of NATO while patrolling ISAF Headquarters in Afghanistan.