Stoltenberg welcomes the support of NATO allies to North Macedonia in COVID-19 fight

Jens Stoltenberg at 2018 NATO Summit; Photo: NATO

BRUSSELS – In a phone call with President Stevo Pendarovski on Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed that North Macedonia is now participating in all NATO meetings as a full member of the Alliance, following accession on 27 March 2020 as NATO’s 30th member.

According to NATO’s press release, Stoltenberg stressed that the Alliance is determined to continue playing its part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He recalled that defence ministers will meet later this month in an extraordinary session by video conference to discuss how NATO can step up support to civilian efforts in coping with the consequences of the pandemic. He stressed that while all Allies are affected by the crisis, some are able to reallocate resources in order to help others in need, including North Macedonia.

“I welcome the support from several NATO Allies to our newest member North Macedonia.This is Allied solidarity in action”, the NATO Secretary General said.

In bilateral aid, Hungary provided 100,000  protective masks and 5,000 protective suits to North Macedonia, and Slovenia provided 100,000 surgical masks and 100,000 protective masks. Through an international donation from the Netherlands to the International Atomic Energy Agency, North Macedonia will receive additional COVID-19 test kits.

The U.S. Government has committed $1.1 million to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in North Macedonia. Through this assistance, it will support  several initiatives, including large-scale testing of COVID-19 and infection prevention and control.

Norway has also donated medical supplies to North Macedonia (worth 180 000 Euro) which will be shipped from the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).

North Macedonia is currently using a field hospital donated by Norway, allowing it to double the capacity at the Infectious Disease Clinic at Skopje’s largest hospital in the combat against COVID-19.

North Macedonia requested assistance through NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) for surgical masks, protective suits and other equipment on 30 March. The NATO centre passed the requests on to NATO Allies and partners, who provide assistance on a bilateral basis. The EADRCC is NATO’s principal disaster response mechanism. It operates on a 24/7 basis, coordinating requests from NATO Allies and partners, as well as offers of assistance to cope with the consequences of major crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.