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Chief of the General Staff chooses the Republic of North Macedonia for her first official visit and expresses a firm support for its accession to NATO

Between Tuesday, 16 April, and Wednesday, 17 April, Chief of the General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) Major General Alenka Ermenc and her delegation visited the Republic of North Macedonia following the invitation by Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia Lieutenant General Vasko Gjurchinovski. This was the first official visit of the SAF Chief of the General Staff abroad and the first official reception of a foreign distinguished guest in this country after it has been renamed the Republic of North Macedonia. By choosing to visit the Republic of North Macedonia, Major General Ermenc showed her strong support for the country’s NATO accession procedures.

On the first day of the visit, Lieutenant General Vasko Gjurchinovski hosted the delegation at an official dinner, where he exchanged gifts with Major General Ermenc. On the second day of her visit, at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, Major General Ermenc met with the Slovenian Minister Plenipotentiary Urško Potočnik and the Head of the NATO Liaison Office Skopje Colonel Zoran Jankovič. The reception was followed by Guard of Honour review in front of the building of the Ministry of Defence and General Staff of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia. At their meeting, Lieutenant General Gjurchinovski and Major General Ermenc discussed the current and future cooperation as well as the upcoming NATO membership of the Republic of North Macedonia. During the talks, they devoted important attention to the strengthening of the countries’ military cooperation.

Later during her visit, Major General Ermenc together with Minister Plenipotentiary Urška Potočnik met the Minister of Defence of Northern Macedonia Radmila Šekerinska. They exchanged views on similar topics: cooperation and North Macedonia’s accession to NATO, and concluded the meeting by exchanging plaques.

Chief of the SAF General Staff also met with members of the NATO Military Liaison Office, led by Colonel Zoran Jankovič. Staff members of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia presented to Major General Ermenc the Army’s transformation plan and their contribution to international operations and missions. The Macedonian party also expressed great interest in hearing about Slovenia’s post NATO-membership experiences. Members of the Slovenian delegation also shared the experiences and lessons learned from the past SAF transformations. In this respect, Chief of the SAF General Staff stressed that by joining NATO, a country can make a larger and better contribution to international security efforts.

Later during the visit, the guests were presented the Military Police Battalion as the best trained unit with the most international experience. The presentation consisted of a dynamic presentation and the presentation of equipment.  Finally, the Slovenian delegation visited some local attractions, including a church dedicated to the life and memory of Mother Teresa.