Monday, August 11, 2008

Macedonian Defence Minister, French Envoy Discuss Relations, Name, NATO

French Ambassador to Macedonia Bernard Valero conveyed Monday [4 August] to Defence Minister Zoran Konjanovski the messages of official Paris on strengthening of the cooperation between the countries' Defence Ministries, reiterating France's support to Macedonia's NATO accession.

"I reiterated our support to the Defence Ministry and army reforms in recent years, along with France's support to Macedonia's NATO integration," said Ambassador Valero after the meeting.

Interlocutors focused on bilateral cooperation and participation in international EU-led peacekeeping missions, where according to Valero "Macedonia sets an example through its engagement."

"France-Macedonia relations are exceptional, and in this context we referred to enhancement of several projects," added Ambassador Valero.

Minister Konjanovski voiced the ministry's commitment to continuation of the reform process. In the context of bilateral cooperation, he mentioned training of military personnel by the year- end, along with new projects and expert assistance.

"We resume in our efforts to further professionalize the military personnel, so that our forces remain a significant part of NATO's peacekeeping operations," added Konjanovski.

Moreover, Konjanovski and Valero confirmed the meeting also tackled the name dispute with Greece.

"Pertaining to the name issue, I cannot say anything new, except repeat France's expectation that a solution to the problem is found as soon as possible," said Valero.

Minister Konjanovski said the Bucharest NATO Summit events would not discourage Macedonia.

"On the contrary, this will motivate us to accelerate the reform tempo, and I am certain this injustice brought upon the Republic of Macedonia will be mended in the upcoming period," underlined Konjanovski.

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