Macedonia aspires to become next NATO member: PM

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-03 04:01:26|Editor: Zhou Xin
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BELGRADE, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Membership in the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a strategic goal of Macedonia, and the country hopes to become its 30th member, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Wednesday at the Adriatic Charter Summit held in Montenegro's capital of Podgorica.

Zaev held a brief speech in front of U.S. Vice President Michael Pence and leaders of other four members of Adriatic Charter -- Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as leaders of the observers from the region including Serbia.

"I express will of Macedonia to act in order to become the 30th member of the NATO alliance. The membership of the Republic of Macedonia in European Union (EU) and NATO are the strategic goals for our country. We are working thoroughly, committedly and energetically to achieve this aim," he said in the speech published by the Montenegrin government.

Zaev said that the fact that Montenegro became 29th NATO member this June "is an encouraging message coming from the alliance, that its doors are open to all that raise above their own challenges and show that they can contribute to collective needs and to its own citizens".

"We will continue to be a thrusting partner in the NATO missions, and contribute actively to security. Macedonia will increase its defense budget as well as the scale of its participation in NATO missions," Zaev added.

Zaev reminded that his country signed Tuesday an agreement on good neighborhood relations with Bulgaria as well as invested efforts lately in order to intensify cooperation with other countries in the region, expressing hope that this will reflect on the pace of the country's NATO and EU accession.