The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, had a telephone conversation today with Wendy Morton, Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas of the United Kingdom.
On that occasion, Mme. Morton congratulated Mr. Osmani on his appointment to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs and expressed her readiness to help further expand the long-standing partnership and cooperation between the two countries, underlining, on that occasion, that the United Kingdom will remain a committed supporter of the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of North Macedonia, as well as its firm NATO ally.
Furthermore, over the course of their conversation, Mr. Osmani and Mme. Morton exchanged their views on the political situation and relations in North Macedonia, with Minister of State Morton asserting that the new Government of the country should continue to employ the same degree of energy and effective efforts in carrying out the on-going reforms aimed at strengthening the rule of law and improving the living standard of citizens.
Continuing their conversation, Mr. Osmani and Mme. Morton placed a special emphasis on the procedure of signing the Partnership, Trade, and Cooperation Agreement between North Macedonia and the United Kingdom, voicing their hope that it will be completed and signed before the end of this year, seeing as it is expected to further regulate the bilateral relations between the two countries, and particularly their bilateral trade.
In this context, Minister Osmani expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the Agreement’s framework offers the same benefits as the ones set out in the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, deeming it to be providing a solid basis for the economic currents and operations between the two countries gaining additional intensity in the period ahead. - I am particularly proud with the fact that, even in times when the entire world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, official data demonstrates that commercial exports from North Macedonia to the United Kingdom increased by 7% in the first half of 2020, and this is why, in developing their overall bilateral cooperation over the period to come, the two countries will remain focused on further strengthening their economic cooperation and utilizing untapped potentials lying before them in that respect, particularly when taking into consideration that the United Kingdom has been and continues to be one of the largest foreign investors in our country as well as its second biggest trading partner , Minister Osmani explained.
In addition, Mr. Osmani and Mme. Morton took the opportunity to discuss the upcoming Sofia Summit which is to take place under the North Macedonia - Bulgaria co-chairmanship of the Berlin Process. In that context, Mme. Morton expressed particular interest in the progress of some of the initiatives that are part of the Berlin Process security pillar, such as the promotion of regional security cooperation, the exchange of classified information, illicit possession, proliferation, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons, the fight against corruption, etc. In that respect, Mr. Osmani and Mme. Morton agreed that it is extremely important that the already established practice of addressing security issues, which was outlined as a priority by the United Kingdom at the London Summit of the Berlin Process, be continued at the online meetings of the Berlin Process Security Commitments Steering Group and of the Berlin Process Interior Ministers scheduled to take place on 6 October and 16 October respectively.