Today, Slovenian Defense Minister Matej Tonin discussed with the Minister of Defense of Northern Macedonia Radmila erekerinska in the context of her official visit to Slovenia. After her reception with military honors, the two ministers had a brief meeting followed by official talks between the two delegations. The visit of the Minister of Northern Macedonia to Slovenia is a continuation of regular meetings at the highest political level between the two friendly countries, representing another opportunity to further strengthen cooperation, especially in the light of NATO membership, the Slovenian Ministry announced. of Defense.
This is Šekerinska’s first official visit abroad since Northern Macedonia was granted full NATO membership.
During the official talks, the interlocutors focused on bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense, the army and cooperation in the Alliance. They concluded that bilateral co-operation is very good and has been greatly strengthened in recent years, and this year’s co-operation program is the most comprehensive to date. This is certainly the result of proactive action by Slovenia, which has decided to support Northern Macedonia’s integration into NATO by running a NATO liaison embassy and a NATO liaison office in Skopje, as well as a defense adviser in Ministry of Defense of Northern Macedonia. The defense adviser took office in Skopje in March 2020.
Cooperation is particularly intensive in the areas of military education, exercises and training. Members of the armed forces regularly participate in military exercises, which are held on the training grounds of both countries, both in international formats and bilaterally. In addition, Slovenia provides support to Northern Macedonia in building the capacity of joint fire controllers (so-called JTACs) through participation in courses at the AGOS regional school in Cerklje ob Krki. Thus, members of the Armed Forces of Northern Macedonia who have already completed the course will be invited to the first Regional Air Week in September this year, which will be organized in order to further train the joint inspectors. from the Western Balkans. “In the future, we also want to strengthen operational cooperation with Northern Macedonia by following the example of cooperation with Montenegro, which has proven to be extremely positive for both defense systems.” “Thus, we will agree on a joint contribution to the NATO operation eFP Latvia, as is already the case with Montenegro, as well as to other international operations and missions,” the statement added. The two ministers stressed the importance of joint participation in international military exercises and training.
The two countries are also cooperating steadily in the field of logistics, where they will further strengthen cooperation in the future. Due to comparable needs, countries in the region have decided to purchase similar military equipment and techniques, opening up opportunities for cooperation in the field of their maintenance. As Minister Tonin pointed out, cooperation will also be agreed on the use and maintenance of Oshkosh light vehicles (JLTV), which both countries are putting into operational use this year. From this point of view, operational cooperation will be strengthened in the future, for which the basic condition is to build interaction. Furthermore, the excellent cooperation in the field of protection and rescue and protection from natural and other disasters was underlined. Most of these activities in recent years have taken place both at the regional level and within the European Union.
Regional co-operation is very important for both countries, said Minister Tonin and Minister ekekerinska. It develops in several areas and enables actions in accordance with the concept of intelligent defense. As an example of intelligence defense, the Minister noted the joint training of the Slovenian and Macedonian armies of the North in the Krivolak area, where one army contributes with modern technology and the other with a suitable training ground for joint training. Another example of such co-operation is the Skopje-based Balkan Medical Working Group (BMTF). Ministers agreed that the BMTF represents a welcome multinational regional military rapid response capability, capable of providing medical care in the event of natural and other disasters and in international operations and missions.
Part of the conversation was devoted to the introduction of segments of the Slovenian defense and security system. Minister Šekerinska was introduced to the role and work of the National Crisis Management Center in the National Crisis Management System.