Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met with Macedonian Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska today at the Pentagon to reaffirm the strong defense relationship between the U.S. and Macedonia, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, White said Mattis and Shekerinska discussed the pending name issue with Greece, which has prevented Macedonian accession to NATO. Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, formerly a region within Yugoslavia, are engaged in a political dispute on “Macedonia.”
The United States supports efforts to resolve this issue, White said, and stands by the decision NATO made at its 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania.
Praise for Macedonian Efforts
During today’s meeting, White said, Mattis praised Macedonia’s recent increase in defense spending and its plan to reach the target of spending 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense as agreed upon by member nations at the alliance’s 2014 summit in Wales.
“Secretary Mattis also thanked the minister for Macedonia’s defense contributions to the mission in Afghanistan, as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq,” White said.