Saturday, April 14, 2007

Gen. Stojanovski: Macedonia deserves NATO membership invitation

Macedonia deserves an invitation to NATO membership, and we should know by late-2007 whether such invitation will be made in 2008, Macedonian army chief said on Friday.

Macedonian Army Chief of Staff, Major General Miroslav Stojanovski, headed to Bulgaria for a three-day official visit.

Maj. Gen. Stojanovski stressed that according to NATO enlargement policy, he doesn't expect the Alliance to make a distinction among the members of the Adriatic Group i.e. Albania and Croatia along with Macedonia expect invitations for NATO membership.

"Many think that Macedonia's participation in international missions is symbolic, but, given the capacity of the Republic of Macedonia and the number of ARM's active personnel, our contribution to mission sin Iraq and Afghanistan is much bigger compared to certain NATO member-states," Stojanovski told Focus news agency.

"We had initially deployed small-size contingents, but for the time being we have accomplished the maximum number of troops in line with the obligations set out in strategic documents. Currently, around 200 soldiers are deployed in missions abroad and this is the maximum," Stojanovski said, adding that Macedonia's participation in NATO-led missions will be stepped up in the future.

Maj. Gen. Stojanovski praised the excellent military cooperation between Macedonia and Bulgaria.

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