During a recent trip to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* General Bieniek had an opportunity to discuss the ongoing transformation of the country's armed forces and the process of NATO membership accession with Minister of Defence, Mr Fatmir Besimi and Deputy Chief of Defence, Major General Naser Sejdini.
In the meeting with Besimi, Bieniek praised the reforms that have been carried out in the country so far and stressed the importance of FYROM as a reliable partner for NATO. He also expressed appreciation for FYROM's involvement in ongoing NATO operations.
Besimi emphasised the importance of his country's strategic goal – membership in the Alliance – and reiterated the on-going diplomatic work to resolve any outstanding issues. The minister underlined that NATO standards are a very important reference for FYROM in all aspects of military transformation, so as to meet the membership requirements.
The two leaders also discussed many aspects of the flourishing regional cooperation (the "A5 Group" includes FYROM, Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Albania and Croatia), in particular procurement and better use of scarce resources to achieve the highest possible level of efficiency.
During a session with the Deputy Chief of Defence, General Bieniek was informed about the current status of the FYROM* Armed Forces, with particular attention to Capability Development, continuous participation in NATO-led operations, increased interoperability with NATO in all areas and continued regional cooperation.
Bieniek was also informed about a planned initiative similar to that of Alliance Air Policing, RIAD (Regional Integrated Air Defence) which aims at incorporating Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro and FYROM* in a common air defence structure.
Finally he got an update on the Annual National Programme, revolving around plans and policy, defense expenditures, transformation imperatives and regional cooperation.
*Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name.
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