Republic of Macedonia–United States relations
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The United States formally recognized Macedonia on February 8, 1994, and the two countries established full diplomatic relations on September 13, 1995. The U.S. Liaison Office was upgraded to an Embassy in February 1996, and the first U.S. Ambassador to Skopje arrived in July 1996. The development of political relations between the United States and Macedonia has ushered in a whole host of other contacts between the two states.
The United States, together with its European allies, strongly condemned the initiators of the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia and closely supported the government and major parties' successful efforts to forge a peaceful, political solution to the crisis through the Ohrid Framework Agreement. In partnership with the EU and other international organizations active in Macedonia, the United States is facilitating the Macedonian Government's implementation of the Framework Agreement and fostering long-term peace and stability in the country. Macedonia continues to make an important contribution to regional stability by facilitating the logistical supply of NATO (including U.S.) peacekeepers in Kosovo.
Today, Macedonia and the United States enjoy a cooperative relationship across a broad range of political, economic, cultural, military, and social issues. The United States supports Macedonia's aspirations to build a democratically secure and market-oriented society, and has donated large amounts of foreign assistance for democracy and economic reforms, defense reforms, and projects to strengthen rule of law and improve education. Bilateral assistance budgeted to Macedonia under the Support Europe Economic Development (SEED) Act totaled over $320 million from 1990 to 2004, including budget support and other assistance to help Macedonia recover from the 2001 crisis. Macedonia received approximately $37 million in SEED Act assistance in 2005.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs in Macedonia promote accelerated growth, support stronger democratic institutions, and help educate Macedonians for a modern economy. A key focus of U.S. assistance is helping Macedonia implement the August 2001 Framework Agreement; implementing the decentralization provision is a priority. USAID is targeting capacity building for local government officials, who will have more authority and responsibility devolved from the central government, as well as providing grants to fund small-scale infrastructure projects.
A further priority of U.S. assistance is to facilitate Macedonia’s transition to a market economy and increase employment and growth levels. USAID has identified and is now assisting the five most competitive sub-sectors of Macedonia’s economy. USAID also helps Macedonian enterprises through business resource centers, improved access to credit and equity, trade and investment facilitation, and training. Programs target improvements in the business-enabling environment by helping to bring legislative and regulatory frameworks in line with EU standards and improving the transparency and efficiency of government services through technology. A resident U.S. Department of Treasury advisor is assisting the Ministry of Finance improve strategy, planning and execution, and public expenditure management.
USAID is working to strengthen Macedonia's non-governmental organization (NGO) and community networks, encourage judicial reform, in particular by modernizing court administration, and build capacity and transparency of the parliament and local governments. USAID has helped strengthen the State Election Commission’s capacity to administer elections and supported domestic NGO election monitoring of the spring 2005 municipal elections. A U.S. Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor focuses on strengthening the independence of the judiciary, efficacy of public prosecution, reform of criminal codes, and capacity to fight trafficking in persons and organized crime.
Complementing its assistance in Macedonia’s political and economic transition, USAID programs improve education and human capacity in Macedonia through projects on the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Targets include improving teaching techniques, modernizing vocational education, providing computer labs in all schools, and expanding broadband Internet service throughout the country using primary and secondary schools as a platform. Other programs address crosscutting issues, including interethnic cooperation, assistance to the Roma minority, corruption, HIV/AIDS, and trafficking.
Zoran Jolevski is the current Macedonian Ambassador in the United States. In 2008, the government of the Republic of Macedonia signed an executive agreement on Strategic Partnership and Mutual Cooperation. The agreement was signed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia Antonio Milososki.
Principal U.S. Officials include:
- Ambassador--Paul D. Wohlers
- Deputy Chief of Mission—Tom Navratil
- Political Affairs—David Burger
- Economic/Commercial Affairs—Darren Lathem
- Consul—Kimberly McDonald
- Management Affairs—Bruce Wilson
- Public Affairs—Ryan Rowlands
- Defense Attaché—Col. Christopher Benya
Media related to Republic of Macedonia – United States relations at Wikimedia Commons