BRUSSELS / MONS / NORFOLK – Today, the flag of North Macedonia was raised at NATO Headquarters, in a special ceremony to mark the country’s accession to NATO.
North Macedonia became the 30th member of the Alliance last Friday, when it deposited its instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty with the US State Department in Washington DC.
“This is a historic moment for North Macedonia. It comes after years of perseverance, determination, and commitment to reform. In the best spirit of the Alliance, and through political courage and vision, North Macedonia and Greece reached a historic compromise over the name issue”, said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and added that the Prespa agreement made this accession possible.
Stoltenberg further explained that the agreement contributed to “good neighbourly relations and a brighter future for North Macedonia”.
“Joining NATO is good for North Macedonia. It is good for the stability of the Western Balkans and it is good for international peace and security,” said Stoltenberg.
He also welcomes the EU’s decision to start accession talks with North Macedonia which is, according to him, another sign that North Macedonia is determined to take its place in the Euro-Atlantic Family.
“At times like these, friends and Allies are more important than ever and North Macedonia now has the best friends and Allies in the world. We are all safer and stronger together than alone. So, welcome to NATO,” he added.
Standing alongside the Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of North Macedonia to NATO, Zoran Todorov who had addressed after the flag and national anthem of North Macedonia was played.
“A historic day for NATO. Historic day for all citizens of North Macedonia. Here we are standing firmly and steadily in front of the NATO Headquarters. Finally together with the Allies. Our flag is waving together with the flags of the other 29 flags of the NATO allies”, said Todorov and added that with NATO membership North Macedonian future will be stable, secure and prosperous.
Todrov said that North Macedonia is not alone, and that it is aware that NATO is not only about the protection, security and safety.
“As a small country at the heart of the Balkans which gained its independence almost 30 years ago in a peaceful way, the question of our security certainly is the first and the foremost. However, our accession to NATO marks more important accomplishment. It is a guarantee of protection and safeguard of our democratic values”, emphasized Todorov and added that the accession is the success of the whole North Macedonian society.
Todorov emphasized that North Macedonia is ready to give its part and significant contribution aimed at successful functioning of NATO.
“And as of now and always. Once and for all. We keep in our mind – We are NATO,”, concluded Todorov.
Flag raising ceremonies were also held simultaneously at Allied Command Operations (SHAPE) in Mons (Belgium) and Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia (United States).