By DoD News
By Joseph Clark
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and the Defense Minister of North Macedonia, Slavjanka Petrovska, pledged to further solidify the two countries’ defense relationship today during a meeting at the Pentagon.
The two leaders met, in part, to sign a 10-year roadmap for defense cooperation which lays out goals for the two countries to work together on addressing shared defense challenges.
“North Macedonia has long been a great friend to the United States and both our interests and our values drive us to pursue a Europe that is free, whole and at peace,” Austin said as he welcomed Petrovska to the Pentagon. “As Russia continues to wage its cruel and unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine, I am truly grateful for North Macedonia’s work to support the Ukranian people in their time of need.”
Austin praised North Macedonia, a NATO member since 2020, for its contribution to the alliance in addition to celebrating the two countries’ “strong bilateral defense relationship.”
“Today, I’m proud that we will jointly sign the United States-Republic of North Macedonia roadmap for defense cooperation,” he said. “This roadmap lays out our goals for a bilateral defense relationship over the next 10 years and shows ways we can work together on modernization and focus our security cooperation to work to address today’s global threat environment.”
Petrovska said North Macedonia will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the U.S. in meeting shared challenges, to include continuing to support Ukraine in the face of Russia’s unprovoked aggression.
The Biden administration continues to stand behind Ukraine and has signaled that it will do so for as long as it takes until Russia ends its brutal assault.
The U.S. has provided more than $39.7 billion in security assistance to help Ukrainian forces defend their country since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
Austin said he looks forward to discussing the U.S. and North Macedonia’s shared defense priorities further during the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.