by WorldTribune Staff, March 27, 2020
North Macedonia officially became the 30th member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on March 27.
“As NATO welcomes its 30th member, we reaffirm our commitment to collective defense under Article 5, the cornerstone of the Transatlantic Alliance,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in announcing North Macedonia’s NATO membership. “As President Trump has said, the NATO Alliance has been the bulwark of international peace and security for over 70 years.”
Since gaining independence in 1991, one of the strategic goals of North Macedonia was to join NATO. North Macedonia joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) in 1995, and in 1999 the country submitted its first Membership Action Plan.
North Macedonia deployed troops in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from 2002 to end 2014 and is currently supporting the follow-on Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces. Before that, the country was a key partner in supporting NATO-led operations in Kosovo in 1999, as well as to provide logistical support to the Kosovo Force (KFOR) mission.
“North Macedonia’s accession to NATO today represents the culmination of many years of effort by the government and people of North Macedonia to join the North Atlantic Alliance,” Pompeo said. “North Macedonia’s NATO membership will support greater integration, democratic reform, trade, security, and stability across the region.”
President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski signed the final accession document on March 20 after Spain ratified the membership of North Macedonia three days earlier.
“In accordance with this document, I, as head of state, officially declare that the Republic of North Macedonia joins NATO and undertakes to comply with and implement all provisions of this treaty”, reads the document signed by Pendarovski.
Pompeo added that “North Macedonia’s accession also reaffirms to other aspirants that NATO’s door remains open to those countries willing and able to make the reforms necessary to meet NATO’s high standards, and to accept the responsibilities as well as benefits of membership.”