We support S. Macedonia as it climbs the hill towards a more secure European future, says the American ambassador

Kate Mary Burns
Kate Mary Burns / Photo: MIA

"As North Macedonia, like you, continues to climb the hill towards a more secure European-integrated future, you will also have to face difficult challenges. The dilemmas they create are unique to your country and your journey, but you are not alone in facing them. The United States is with you on that ascent," the American ambassador to the country, Kate Marie Burns, said tonight at the ceremony at the American Embassy on the occasion of the 246th anniversary of the independence of the United States.

In the presence of representatives of the top state, political parties, the civil sector, the media, Burns said that as the two countries will face new challenges, we will deal with them together, as allies, partners and friends.

In her speech, the ambassador recalled that three years ago, as she said, she climbed this hill for the first time to the Embassy in Skopje and was inspired by the view and the potential that surrounds her.

– I was aware that there would be challenges. I knew about some of them and expected them, like the need to continue the fight against corruption, strengthen the rule of law and strengthen democratic institutions. Some were new, like the deadly worldwide pandemic, the devastating forest fires, and now the brutal and unjustified war raging in Europe. But regardless of the challenges ahead, I was convinced that the relations between the United States and North Macedonia are sufficiently strong and dynamic and that together we will be able to deal with them and we will come out more determined in our partnership, the ambassador pointed out.

She emphasizes that in the past three years, North Macedonia has progressed from a country that aspired to become a member of NATO, to a reliable, equal and capable ally. He reminded that in May the country hosted the "Quick Response" exercise, which was the largest military exercise ever held at the Krivolak training ground.

- The army of North Macedonia has modernized and improved its readiness and response capabilities, and Russia's barbaric aggression against Ukraine, the people they claim to be their brothers and kin and with whom they had so much in common could not illustrate more clearly why today NATO is more important than ever, Burns pointed out.

She noted that North Macedonia constantly shows its commitment to strategic partnership and support for democratic principles, the same ideals that, as the ambassador said, Russia is trying to deny to the citizens of Ukraine.

- Whether it stands firmly in support of sanctions against Russia or helps people evacuated from Afghanistan or actively participates in President Biden's Democracy Summit, North Macedonia is a reliable friend we trust. We cooperate together to protect the environment, culture and economic opportunities that make North Macedonia a vital part of the region, said Brnz.

In her speech, she presented details about the different spheres of cooperation between the two countries in different areas, stressing that as the leadership role of North Macedonia in the Western Balkans expands, so does the opportunity for economic growth and new development.

Burns noted that since 2019, the United States has invested nearly $60 million in industry, infrastructure and innovation, creating thousands of jobs.

Emphasizing the deepened bilateral cooperation between the two countries, Burns emphasized that Washington and Skopje had more opportunities to celebrate anniversaries and achievements in the past three years.

- Fourth century of diplomatic relations between the USA and North Macedonia. Thirty years of partnership with USAID and 25 years of Peace Corps activity in the country. Longstanding cooperation with the Vermont National Guard. And of course, 30 years since your independence, Burns pointed out.

The ambassador said that democracy is an uphill climb.

– Our founding fathers knew it 246 years ago, just like you know it 30 years later. We must continue to strive to improve the lives of our citizens and the future of our youth, address inequities in the system and stand up for the values ​​we have long championed. It can really be a burden to stay on the beaten path with your eyes on the top instead of looking for a way out. And sometimes that means making difficult decisions at difficult times, Burns said in his speech to those present at the ceremony at the American Embassy.

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