With North Macedonia to become NATO's 30th member nation in the near future, the purpose of the visit was to discuss the integration of the country's air defence systems into NATO's Integrated Air and Missile Defence System.
The authorities of North Macedonia demonstrate an unwavering desire to have their forces fully integrated and quickly become an active contributor to the protection of NATO airspace.
Discussions at Skopje were held with the State Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Dragan Nikolic, the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Vasko Gjurchinovski and the Air Force Commander, Colonel Stojko Pejovski. A particular focus of the meetings was laid on the ability of North Macedonia's Air Force to interoperate with NATO Air Forces as well as with those of other NATO partner nations. The agreement on technical standards in order to be able to exchange data and information is a key aspect of a successful integration into NATO's Air Defence. Further subjects covered were the training and exercise involvement of Air Force personnel from North Macedonia as well as the integration of a Macedonian officer into the Combined Air Operations Centre's staff.
Delegations from North Macedonia and NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón at Skopje, North Macedonia.
From left to right: Colonel Valentin Ivanoski, Head of the Military Aviation Authority of North Macedonia; Mr. Dragan Nikolic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Defence; Lieutenant-Colonel Darko Trajkovski, Advisor to the Military Aviation Authority of North Macedonia; Lieutenant-Colonel Giuseppe Forte, Duty Controller at NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón; Lieutenant General Rubén Servert, Commander of NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón and Major Roberto Garcia, Staff officer at NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón.
Photo by Department for Communication, Analytics and Operational Support, Ministry of Defence of North Macedonia.
"Full integration of NATO countries into NATO's Integrated Air and Missile Defence System and the unity of effort in the Air domain are the best examples of cohesion and solidarity among Allies. That explains clearly the essential role of NATO in today's world," Lieutenant General Servert commented on the successful conclusion of the meeting. "The authorities of North Macedonia demonstrate an unwavering desire to have their forces fully integrated and quickly become an active contributor to the protection of NATO airspace," he added.
Driving the integration of North Macedonia's Air Defence forward, exchanges and visits between the country's authorities and relevant NATO entities have been increasing. Previously to the meeting in Skopje, a delegation of North Macedonia's Air Force visited the Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón in November 2019. NATO's Integrated Air and Missile Defence System is the command and control network of interconnected systems for monitoring and detecting aircraft, as well as for their interception by air assets or surface-based weapon systems.