Stoltenberg: North Macedonia Soon to Become Member of NATO

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, March 5, 2020 – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday in Zagreb that North Macedonia would become a NATO member within the next few weeks, and the alliance’s chief thanked Croatia for its support to the open door policy.

We welcome the fact that Croatia has been a staunch advocate for NATO’s open door policy. And soon, within the next few weeks, North Macedonia will become the 30th member, which shows that our door remains open, Stoltenberg said at a press conference after his meeting with Croatian President Zoran Milanović.

The Croatian president, who was sworn in on 18 February, said that “his old acquaintance and friend” Stoltenberg was the first foreign guest since he took office, noting that his own diplomatic career had started in NATO.

The focus of the two officials’ meeting was on the involvement of Croatian troops in NATO-led missions, and they also discussed current challenges faced by the entire world.

Croatia is a committed and highly appreciated ally contributing in various spheres, the general secretary said, mentioning the presence of the Croatian contingents in Lithuania and Poland, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo, and welcoming the fact that Croatia is increasing funding for defence.

Speaking about the recent agreement between the USA and Taliban on peace in Afghanistan, which should result in the withdrawal of Western forces from the Asian country, Stoltenberg reiterated that the path towards peace was difficult, but that one should remain dedicated to it.

When the moment comes and all conditions are met, we will leave together, Stoltenberg stated.

Milanović said that Croatia would follow the developments and that it would slowly but definitely pull its troops from that mission. “However, this will not happen overnight,” he said.

Milanović recalled that one of the first decisions he signed since his recent inauguration referred to the deployment of a new contingent of Croatian soldiers in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, plans are being drawn up in the meantime on the departure of the Croatian troops from that country, he added.

A few days ago, the US and Taliban signed an agreement which sets into motion the potential of a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and could pave the way to ending the war which has been lasting for 18 years.

The Doha deal lays out a 14-month timetable for the withdrawal of “all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel.”

More news about Croatia and the NATO can be found in the Politics section.


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