SKOPJE – Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said at a news conference after the government session today that Macedonia’s aspiration to integrate into NATO does not mean opposing Russia and that membership is a long-term aspiration of Macedonian citizens.
According to Zaev, membership in NATO is important for the stability and security of Macedonia and the region.
Commenting on the statement made by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Zaev said that Macedonia, as one of its strategic goals wants to strengthen the cooperation with the Russian Federation.
“Our integration into NATO does not mean opposing the promotion of cooperation with the Russian Federation, because Macedonia in its strategic goals intends to strengthen and promote cooperation with the Russian Federation, primarily in economics, culture, education, and in all other respects”, said the Macedonian Prime Minister.
He said that the country’s commitment to NATO was from 25 years ago.
“I would like to point out that as early as 1993 with a joint declaration in Parliament, Macedonia has established its strategic priorities, among which is NATO integration. Indeed, it is an expression of the vast majority – over 75% of our citizens are for integration into NATO. Integration into NATO is very important for the stability and security of Macedonia, but also for the entire region”, said Zaev.
Previously, Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko met with Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia to Russia, Goce Karajanov and said “plans to pull the Republic of Macedonia into NATO might have negative consequences for regional security and bilateral relations.”
According to the statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the two diplomats “discussed current bilateral issues. Both sides voiced their readiness to continue cooperation in areas of mutual interest and stressed the importance of resuming the work of the Russian-Macedonian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economics, and Scientific and Technological Cooperation.”
At the meeting, Russian deputy foreign minister Grushko and Ambassador Karajanov exchange views on the situation in the Balkans.