November 4, 2010 – Ottawa, Canada – Today, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) met with The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence of Canada in Ottawa. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss advancing Canada-Macedonia bilateral relations and Macedonia’s aspirations to join NATO. UMD hopes that NATO will offer Macedonia a formal invitation to join the Alliance at the upcoming Lisbon Summit on November 19-21, 2010.
“UMD is grateful for Minister MacKay’s friendship and support of Macedonia’s NATO membership. By Minister MacKay finding time to meet with our delegation, it shows the strong interest in Macedonia’s and the region’s security and stability,” stated UMD Board Member Goran Saveski. “Canadian and Macedonian troops are fighting side-by-side in Afghanistan, and Canadian support for Macedonia’s NATO membership is instrumental.
Canada has had a strong interest in Macedonia’s stability since the early days of Macedonia’s independence by sending peacekeeping troops. Canadian troops were involved with NATO operations against Yugoslavia in 1999 and the NATO logistical support center in Macedonia for Kosovo Forces. Since then, Canadian and Macedonian troops have fought side-by-side in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Macedonia is the fourth largest contributor per capita to the ISAF Mission in Afghanistan, and Macedonia is contributing more than many current NATO members, including 4% of its GDP to military spending well-above the NATO threshold,” stated UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “Macedonia is allowed to protect the tent of NATO by patrolling the ISAF headquarters in Kabul but cannot sleep in the tent; NATO must not allow itself to be held hostage by Greece’s bilateral issues with its neighbours.”
Members of the delegation included: UMD President Metodija A. Koloski; UMD Board Member Goran Saveski; and; UMD International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow Rafael Primeau-Ferraro.
UMD appreciates and values Minister MacKay’s time, friendship, and support of Macedonia. UMD hopes that NATO leaders will offer a formal invitation for Macedonia to join the Alliance at the upcoming Lisbon Summit.
Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora is a leading international non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
Photo Caption: United Macedonian Diaspora meets with The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence of Canada.
Pictured left to right: Metodija A. Koloski, Minister MacKay, Rafael Primeau-Ferraro, and Goran Saveski