UMD Hails U.S.-Macedonia Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Declaration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 7, 2008 – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) hails the Declaration of Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Between the United States of America and the Republic of Macedonia signed today in Washington, D.C. by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Milososki.  UMD, which has been at the forefront of increasing U.S.-Macedonian relations and Macedonian cultural awareness in the U.S., praises both governments for wishing to “enhance their strategic relationship through intensified consultation and cooperation in the areas of security, people-to-people ties, and commerce” with the signing of this Declaration.

“This is a proud day in the history of the Macedonian people, particularly so for Macedonian-Americans who have been and are an integral part of American society in all spheres of life, government, business, the arts, education, and sport,” stated UMD President Metodija A. Koloski.  “The United States is a strategic partner of the Republic of Macedonia, and has continuously helped Macedonia to build a democratic and socio-economically stable nation – a role-model to the entire Southeast Europe region.  A democratic, secure, and prosperous Macedonia is indeed vital to peace and stability in Southeast Europe.”
          
UMD remains confident that Macedonia will become a member of NATO despite the Greek intransigence over Macedonia’s name that resulted in Greece’s regrettable veto of Macedonia’s NATO membership last month at the NATO Bucharest Summit.  UMD hopes that the Macedonian government and the Macedonian people continue on the path towards Euro-Atlantic integration despite the unfortunate and unnecessary obstacles, against the fundamentals of human rights, placed in the path of Macedonia’s progression, by their southern neighbor.

The Declaration of Strategic Partnership and Cooperation signed today by the United States of America and the Republic of Macedonia is further evidence of the deepening friendship and mutual trust amongst these two great nations.  Again, UMD applauds both the United States of America and the Republic of Macedonia for intensifying their ties and cooperation and looks forward to the day when the United States of America and the Republic of Macedonia are NATO allies as well.

Text of the Declaration:

Declaration of Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Between the United States of America and the Republic of Macedonia
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Washington, DC
May 7, 2008

The United States of America and the Republic of Macedonia are determined to expand and deepen the close partnership between the two countries based upon common goals, interests, and values. The two countries wish to enhance their strategic relationship through intensified consultation and cooperation in the areas of security, people-to-people ties, and commerce.

The United States and Macedonia reaffirm their support for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, the purposes and principles of the UN charter, and a unitary, multiethnic Macedonia within its existing borders.

Macedonia and the United States note that a democratic, secure and prosperous Macedonia, with friendly and constructive relations with its neighbors and as an active participant in regional and international economic, political and security fora, is vital to peace and stability in Southeast Europe.

In this regard, the United States continues to support Macedonia’s security, stability and economic development.

In the interest of an intensified partnership, the United States intends to immediately provide additional assistance to Macedonia to help build prosperity, strengthen security, and foster deeper ties between our two countries.

Macedonia expresses deep appreciation to the U.S. for its assistance to date in helping the Macedonian people as they work to institutionalize and make permanent a democratic process that realizes our shared values of peace, freedom, the rule of law, and a free market economy. Macedonia also recognizes and reaffirms the support from the U.S. in reforming and strengthening its armed forces.

Building on our existing strong partnership in the fight against global terrorism and promoting international stability, demonstrated by our troops serving together in Iraq and Afghanistan, our civilian and military officials plan to intensify their bilateral high-level contacts and seek increased joint training and exercise opportunities to enhance the inter-operability of our forces, and strengthen our partnership in promoting international security and non-proliferation.

Sharing a desire to expand trade and investment, the United States and Macedonia will seek to enhance their economic ties and undertake additional measures to strengthen the competitiveness of Macedonia’s economy and expand opportunities for United States and Macedonian businesses. The United States supports Macedonia’s ongoing efforts to build a business-friendly environment attractive to United States and other foreign investment. Macedonia expresses its appreciation for the opportunity to utilize GSP to strengthen bilateral trade. Both countries encourage the further expansion of their trade relations.

Macedonia expresses satisfaction with the successful implementation of the USAID technical assistance programs in the areas of democracy, economic growth and education and reaffirms its desire for cooperation in these areas to continue.

The two countries also seek to build closer and more robust bonds between their citizens and will undertake practical measures to promote educational and cultural exchange.

The NATO Summit Declaration in Bucharest made clear that the Republic of Macedonia has met NATO’s democratic, economic, and defense standards through its rigorous participation in the Membership Action Plan. The United States continues to work with our NATO Allies to maintain Macedonia’s robust cooperation with NATO under existing mechanisms, while it awaits a membership invitation.

Both countries look forward to Macedonia joining NATO as soon as possible. Our intensified cooperation at this time will further strengthen Macedonia’s readiness to take on Alliance obligations and responsibilities in the near future.

Signed at Washington May 7, 2008.

For the United States of America     For the Republic of Macedonia

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Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is an international non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
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