President Stevo Pendarovski addressed today the participants of the military exercise “Resolute Strike 21”, which is being held from May 17 to June 2, 2021, at the Krivolak military range, with participation of members of the armies of the Republic of North Macedonia, United States of America, the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Greece, as well as members of the Balkan Medical Task Force.
The integral text of President Pendarovski’s address is below.
Distinguished participants in the military exercise “Decisive Strike 21”
The readiness of an army depends, above all, on the readiness of its soldiers and officers. Hence, the readiness of the NATO Alliance, in its entirety, depends on the readiness of the armies of its member states. Moreover, the level of readiness is not checked in the cabinets and offices, but in the field, in a military exercise.
Today we have successfully completed the “Decisive Strike 21” exercise, which is our first exercise of this profile and character since we became a member of NATO. The exercise is part of Defender Europe 21, the largest NATO exercise in Europe this year, led by the United States Army. We are participating in a dual capacity, both as a host at Krivolak training area and through the members of our army. This type of our participation is a result of the great trust that allies have in us, in our army and its military installations.
When I visited this training area a month and a half ago, I was briefed on the plans and activities for the transformation of TA Krivolak into a modern range in compliance with international standards. Today I would like to thank the members of the Engineering Battalion of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia and the 15th Engineer Battalion of the US Army who were involved in the development and expansion of the training and exercise capabilities of this range. You have done a great job in an exceptionally short period of time. Congratulations on that!
We passed the first big test. Therefore, as a country, we will continue to invest and develop the Krivolak range, which is no longer only our military capacity, but also the capacity of the entire Alliance.
I want to congratulate all the participants in this large scope military exercise. In the past two weeks you have had an excellent opportunity to test the interoperability with several NATO countries. You have undeniably shown the capacity and the ability to plan and organize large-scale exercises with other Allied armies.
In addition to confirming, in military terms, the capacity to conduct integrated inter-branch operations, this exercise is very important for strengthening the transatlantic partnership and, consequently, for the security of Europe and the Western Balkans.
By jointly planning and conducting such an exercise, North Macedonia and the United States affirm their strategic partnership that has existed between us for many years. In addition, there is yet another, very important, regional dimension. In addition to the US Army members, members of the armies of Bulgaria and Greece are also participating in the “Decisive Strike 21”, which strengthens the bilateral partnership with our two neighbors and intensifies at the same time regional cooperation in the field of defense and security.
Needless to say, the old, proven truth is that no matter how satisfied we are with a successful mission, we must never think that our job is done. It is necessary to continue and we will continue with reforms and investment in defense, modernization and equipping of the army, but also with our participation, now as a full-fledged member, in NATO-led structures and missions. By investing in regional peace and global stability, we are investing in our own security. And these are the paramount national and state interests, which we have sworn to protect.
Once again, let me congratulate all participants in this military exercise for their commitment.
Thank you for your attention.