North Macedonia concerned over situation in Ukraine, meets Security Council
The President of the Republic of Northern Macedonia (RNM), Stevo Pendarovski, said on Tuesday afternoon in Skopje that the security situation in the country is stable and that there are no indications of endangering the territorial integrity and sovereignty of developments in the region and those related to Ukraine.
Pendarovski made this statement after the Security Council meeting, which lasted more than two hours and was attended by the new Prime Minister, Dimitar Kovacevski, the new Minister of Defense, Slavjanka Petrovska, the Speaker of Parliament, Talat Xhaferi, the Minister of Internal Affairs Oliver Spasovski, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani and the Foreign Members – professors Nenad Markovich, Veton Latifi and Trajan Gocevski. At the invitation of the President, Erold Musliu, Director of the Intelligence Agency, Viktor Dimovski, Director of the National Security Agency and Lieutenant General Vasko Gjurcinovski, Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Republic of Northern Macedonia were also present at this meeting.
WILL RNM SEND SOLDIERS IF NATO INTERVENTS IN UKRAINE?
According to Pendarovski, tensions in the region have eased in part, mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the commitment of the international community. Regarding tensions on the Ukrainian-Russian border, the RNM president said the country has made all preparations for possible scenarios.
“In this sense, we welcome the diplomatic efforts being made at various levels that take on key factors in the international community, which enable dialogue and negotiation, not weapons and war rhetoric”, Pendarovski said.
He clarified that NATO has not taken a decision on military intervention in Ukraine because Article 5 of the Washington Agreement applies only to 30 member states, when the whole Alliance reacts if one of those states is attacked.
Security experts say the country can decide for itself whether to abide by or contribute if NATO decides to intervene in the situation in Ukraine. According to university professor Metodi Hadzi-Janev, Northern Macedonia is not in direct danger of a possible conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“Macedonia has obligations from NATO membership, but it also has the sovereign right to decide to stay away from a possible conflict in Ukraine”, Hadzi-Janev told Radio Free Europe in Macedonian.
The President of the Euro-Atlantic Council of Northern Macedonia, Ismet Ramadani, has said that the country, as a member of NATO, has an obligation to be involved in a possible conflict. Ramadani says that Macedonia must respect its obligations to NATO, as a member state.
“Article 5 of the NATO Charter is very clear here. One for all, all for one, which means that we must be prepared for such situations,” said Ramadani.
MINISTER OSMANI MEETS THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR
A day earlier, RNM Foreign Minister Osmani met with the Russian Ambassador to Skopje, Sergey Baznikin. As officially announced by the MFA, Osmani called for de-escalation of the situation around Ukraine and finding a solution through dialogue and diplomatic communication. Osmani, however, reiterated the view that Northern Macedonia respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. Minister Osmani, according to the announcement, stressed that RNM’s membership in NATO is an important achievement of the country’s foreign policy, which is an expression of the sovereign decision taken unanimously in Parliament in 1993.
“Northern Macedonia’s membership in the NATO Alliance is a guarantee for our security, as well as contributing to the wider regional security and safety. NATO is an alliance for the collective defense of member states and does not pose a threat to the Russian Federation or any other country in the world,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russia has deployed more than 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine. The West fears that Moscow is preparing to invade Ukraine, but Russia denies it and seeks assurances that NATO will not expand further east.