North Macedonia was included in the new US defense budget law
In an amendment to the National Defense Law, Congress asked the Pentagon to propose more military exercises with North Macedonia next year, according to the draft law on the defense budget for the next fiscal year.
With this federal law, the USA determines the annual budget and expenditures of the Pentagon, and this year, for the first time, North Macedonia was also included in it.
Pursuant to the amendment, Congress directs the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Commander of U.S. European Command, to submit to the House Armed Services Committee a briefing regarding plans for additional NATO or joint U.S.-North Macedonia exercises during of the 2023 fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2022. It should be done by December 1 at the latest.
"The committee strongly supports North Macedonia's integral role as a NATO ally and highlights the value of NATO's Rapid Response 22 exercise in North Macedonia for NATO interoperability, regional integration and deterrence against Russian aggression," the law says.
It adds that it is essential that "the US and other NATO members continue to conduct similar exercises with North Macedonia and strive for further integration."
North Macedonia was included in the proposed legal text at the request of the congresswoman Lisa McClain, co-chair of the congressional group for friendship with Macedonia and the Macedonian-American community, and at the request of the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), "Voice of America" learns.
The new director of UMD for Macedonia, Gordan Jordanov, the president Method A. Koloski and the director of development and promotion Emma Brown, in June they had a meeting with McClain, in order to request a more active engagement of the USA in North Macedonia.
"Since its very existence in 2004, UMD has been intensively working to strengthen relations between the United States and our homeland Macedonia in every field. I am honored that right before the 30th anniversary of the Macedonian Army, Congress voted to deepen the relationship between the armies of the United States and Macedonia. In its history, the Macedonian Army had no greater friend than the American Army. We are stronger together," said Koloski.