Dear members of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia,

Congratulations on 18 August – Army Day!

Dear fellow citizens, dear guests,

On this day 18 August 1943 on Slavej Mountain the first battalion named after the

fallen fighter and people’s hero, member of the Central Headquarters of the people’s

liberation army and the partisan detachments – Mirche Acev was formed.

The creation of this first military formation is especially important and that is why

after the declaration of our independence 18 August was chosen as the day of the

contemporary Macedonian army.

In its beginnings, the Army started in modest and difficult conditions and environment. However, within a short period it consolidated, and in the mid-1990s it has started the structural reforms in order to transform into an army of a future NATO member state.

Membership in the Alliance has been strategic priority since the beginnings of our

independence, when the Resolution for the country to join NATO was passed, the

decision which in 1993 in the then Parliament was supported by all parliamentary

parties. In November 1995 we signed the Framework document for accession into

the Partnership for Peace programme and two years later we joined the Euro-

Atlantic Partnership Council. In June 1996 we opened the Liaison Office and at the

end of 1997 our Permanent Mission in NATO HQs in Brussels. In April 1999 at the

NATO Washington Summit we got a status of a country candidate for membership

and launched the Membership Action Plan.

Until today this strategic priority has been one of the largest cohesion factors in our

society, supported by a wide national consensus supported by all relevant political

parties, the vast majority of citizens from all ethnic communities and there has been

strong support by the civil society and the business community. After more than two

decades of reforms and solving the long-standing name issue dispute with Greece,

by signing the Prespa Agreement, we have come a step away to achieving the goal

which we worked hard for many years – Republic of North Macedonia becoming 30th

NATO member state.

Our army through tenths of rotations and participation of thousands of its members

has been and still is part of many international military missions, with long years of

presence in the international operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, ALTHEA in

Bosnia & Herzegovina and as a key segment from the status of country – supporter

to KFOR in Kosovo, demonstrating that we can be interoperable with the armies of

all partner countries and fulfil the obligations with the goal of contributing to collective

defence and security systems.

The road to NATO was paved by meticulous reforms, personal investments and

maximum dedication of generations of members of the armed forces. Men and

women who serve in our army and the administration that works to support the

completion of the defence reforms for all of these years have shown capacity, human

integrity and persistence, even in the moments when the defence budget was cut

and in the periods when politics distanced us from the NATO membership.

Dear guests,

Many years ago, we have decided to accept the values of the North Atlantic Treaty

binding us to safeguard the “freedom, common heritage and civilisation of peoples,

based on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law” as the

basis of the system of collective defence and protecting peace and security. By

becoming a NATO member our responsibility towards the citizens and the allies will

increase. Rule of law is a necessary condition for functioning of democracy and the

development of free society. Thereto, our absolute priority is to elevate the rule of

law as a highest value for us and restore the trust in the institutions and the state.

Only in that way we will be a responsible and assuring partner for our NATO-allies.

Security and defence reforms are a never-ending process and we will continue to

work on them after the NATO membership. Dear soldiers and officers, as your

Commander in Chief I would like to tell you that you will always have my support for

equipment and modernisation of the armed forces and for improving the living and

work conditions. One of the priorities of these reform processes will be directed

towards the declared NATO units. I fully support the government efforts as a future

NATO member state for us to spend 2% of the GDP for investment in defence and

within my authorities I will do everything in order for us to achieve this in the

designated deadline – latest by 2024.

As Commander in Chief I will insist on improvement of your living and professional

standards. In the same way as you perform your tasks in a dedicated and

professional manner, in the same manner we the politicians should fulfil that

obligation towards you. Suffice to remember your selfless engagement in handling

the elementary disaster on the south border in facing the large migrant waves in

2015 and 2016.

Dear All,

The Transport Helicopter Squadron from the air brigade of the Joint Operations

Command is one of the units that we are proud of. The squadron has special merit

and exceptional contribution to strengthening the defence capabilities, safeguarding

the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of our country, as well as

successful representation and affirmation of the Army of the Republic of North

Macedonia on the international stage.

The effect of the Army reforms is a result of the comprehensive reform package we

have undertaken as a result of the strategic determination to become a NATO

member. We were not alone in that process. On that path we had an ally that

reminded us of the obligations, offered the best solutions and encouraged us to

continue with dynamic pace. For almost two decades the NATO Liaison Office in

Skopje has been supporting and assisting the defence sector reforms that were

necessary to achieve the high criteria and standards for achieving the full-fledged

membership in NATO. Thanks to the guidance and advice from our allies, the

reforms had an added value. That is why today we have effective and mobile army,

ready to face and execute the most complex tasks.

Those are the main reasons why I have decided to present the Transport Helicopters

Squadron and the NATO Liaison Office with Orders for military merit. That is our

gratitude for their efforts.

Dear members of the Army,

Many times you have justified the trust of our citizens and our allies. Therefore, on

their behalf congratulating you the Army Day I thank you for the professionalism,

dedication and discipline in performing your tasks.

Congratulations to all of us on the Army Day 18 August!

Long live the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia!

Long live North Macedonia!

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