Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Macedonia's future is in NATO and EU

Macedonia has no alternative but to join NATO and the EU, for which it should unite internally and demonstrate political maturity, state capacity and unified vision of the long-term development.

Branko Crvenkovski, President of Macedonia and supreme commander of the armed forces said this in his speech at the central celebration of the Day of The Army, held Monday in Skopje.

The central celebration was also attended by army leaders, Government and Parliament representatives, the first president of Macedonia Kiro Gligorov and the diplomatic corps in the country.

In the special address, President Crvenkovski said he doubts Macedonia could develop inner democracy, inter-ethnic relations and implement high-quality reforms if it remains outside Euro-Atlantic integration process for extended period of time.

"It is clear that only stable Macedonia, with stable inter-ethnic relations and fully integrated into international organizations, can have economic progress and provide prosperity to all citizens", Crvenkovski said.

The Defense Minister Zoran Konjanovski said that Macedonia expects to finally receive the NATO invitation and become member soon.

"We expect Macedonia to enter NATO and participate at the celebration of the Alliance's 60th anniversary in 2009 as a full member", Konjanovski said.

Crvenkovski and Konjanovski sent a message that Macedonian Army remains a part of the international peace missions and has the intention to have strong morale and be respected.

Within the central manifestation on the occasion of the Day of the Army, a tribute with one-minute silence was paid to the 11 Macedonian peacekeepers that were killed in an accident while returning from the Althea mission in Bosnia.

A 12-gun artillery salvo was fired from the "Ilinden" barracks in honour of the Day of ARM.

Also, a General Staff delegation laid a wreath at the partizans' cemetery, at the tomb of late President Boris Trajkovski and at the tomb of General Mihajlo Apostolski.

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