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At a formal academy honouring the ARM’s 20th anniversary, President Gjorge Ivanov said late Thursday that for the last 20 years Macedonian Army (ARM), as one of the main pillars of our independence, has demonstrated potential to contribute to the overall progress of the country and its affirmation abroad.
The event was attended by Defense Minister Fatmir Besimi, Chief of ARM General Staff, Major-General Goranco Koteski, members of the government, former military officials, ambassadors, military attaches, delegations of Turkey’s armed forces and Vermont National Guard.
As a Head of the State and Supreme Commander of the armed forces, I ensure you that ARM has been and will remain a guarantor of the territorial integrity, and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia, Ivanov said.
“Our strategic goals remain unchanged and clearly defined under general consensus. Macedonia’s multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious society is by natural right oriented towards the European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Hence, we remain committed to our obligations deriving from our partnership with NATO allies in line with our national interests,” Ivanov said.
He extended gratitude to the efforts many generations had invested in establishing ARM, which reflects the structure of Macedonia’s society. The country’s responsible leadership remains committed to meet the necessary conditions for the ARM’s efficient functioning and realizing of its tasks under the constitution, the President said.
The 20-year-ARM existence may be summarised in three words – patriotism, consistency and professionalism, Ivanov said.
“The patriotism, love for the fatherland, is the most significant quality ARM has inherited from our fighters for freedom in Ilinden Uprising and People’s Liberation War. The love ARM expressed at the onset of our independence by guarding our borders, peace security for us and our children,” Ivanov said.
For the last two decades, he said, ARM has demonstrated its professionalism in responding to all challenges at home and abroad, namely in dealing with domestic security crises and participation in NATO, EU, UN –led international missions.
“I’ve been Macedonia’s President and your Supreme Commander for three years. At all my meetings across the globe, world leaders and military chiefs point out that ARM and its peacekeepers are true ambassadors, who in practice and on the ground, promote our interests, the ones we share with our partners, allies and friends. I have had an opportunity to see that in person during my visits of our peacekeepers in Afghanistan, Bosnia/Herzegovina and international military exercises. I wish you to know that I’m really proud of you,” Ivanov said.
Deeds speak for themselves, Ivanov said, pointing out that with hard work and dedication ARM has managed to meet NATO membership standards.
Until the realization of the membership status, we shall keep working to that effect, Ivanov said.
He expressed belief that ARM would keep functioning in line with the three values that marked the last two decades – patriotism, consistency and professionalism, which are prerequisites for “our freedom, justice and dignity.”
DM Besimi referred to the ARM reforms, which as he said, turned it into a highly-professional, respected institution at home and abroad.
He wished for the Macedonian flag to soon be hoisted in front of the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
Chief of ARM General Staff Koteski reaffirmed Macedonia’s strategic goal to join NATO.
“In spite of meeting all necessary criteria and contributing substantially to the global peace and security, Macedonia unjustly is still a non-NATO member. I use the opportunity to say that this unfair decision will not discourage us – ARM members – in achieving our strategic goal to join the Alliance. I am certain the day when we will be not only desired, but also full-fledged NATO member will come,” Koteski said.
This evening, President Ivanov decorated the Special Operations Regiment, Lieutenant-General Mitre Arsovski, Vermont National Guard and Turkish Military Academy with Order of Military Merits.
Ivanov said he also decided to decorate with a Medal of Bravery all ARM members who for the last 20 years gave their lives while serving at home and in international peace missions.