(Extensions of Remarks - March 03, 2015)

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[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 36 (Tuesday, March 3, 2015)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E295]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                     MACEDONIA'S ACCESSION TO NATO


                         HON. CANDICE S. MILLER

                              of michigan

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, March 3, 2015

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I rise today as the Chair of 
the Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans, and as 
someone who represents a district home to the largest community of 
Macedonian-Americans in our nation, to introduce H. Res. 56, affirming 
strong U.S. support for Macedonia joining NATO, and recognize the 
strategic U.S. partnership with our friend and ally Macedonia.
  The U.S.-Macedonia relationship is one of critical importance in 
today's increasingly volatile world. Macedonia is strategically located 
in Southeast Europe, providing a unique gateway for rapid deployment to 
the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe in order to maintain 
regional stability as various national security challenges arise. Our 
friendship with Macedonia has never been more critical.
  The U.S. has a vested interest in the stability and security of 
Macedonia and Southeast Europe. In the 1990s, we sent troops to the 
northern border of Macedonia to ensure stability in the aftermath of 
the breakup of Yugoslavia. Due in part to this American commitment, 
Macedonia was the only nation to peacefully declare independence 
without any bloodshed. Since then, the U.S. has assisted Macedonia on 
its path to partnership in Europe and across the Atlantic alike, with a 
track record of military, economic, and political support ever since.
  In 1999, Macedonia opened its borders to 400,000 refugees from Kosovo 
and hosted the NATO Logistical Support Center for Kosovo Forces. In 
2001, Macedonia was one of the first countries to offer support to the 
United States after the horrific attacks of September 11, abiding by 
the words of the late Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski that ``an 
attack on the United States is an attack on Macedonia.''
  Since 2002, Macedonia has contributed greatly to the U.S. and ISAF 
mission in Afghanistan. Macedonia has patrolled ISAF headquarters in 
Kabul, was the fourth and fifth largest ISAF troop contributor per 
capita, contributed troops to the NATO-led ISAF mission, and engaged in 
combat operations side-by-side with American troops. Currently, 
Macedonia has been recognized as an operational partner in the new 
``Resolute Support'' Mission in Afghanistan to train, advise, and 
assist our Afghan partners.
  For their participation in U.S. and NATO-led missions, Macedonian 
soldiers have received 120 medals and military honors from the United 
States. Furthermore, Macedonia has been an active participant--and the 
first state partner--with the Vermont National Guard for the past 20 
years, and, since 1995, more than 3,000 Macedonians and Vermonters have 
shared their expertise in more than 800 events as the partnership has 
developed, including a joint military embedment in Afghanistan in 2011.
  I have long noted that Macedonia can protect the tent of NATO in 
places like Afghanistan, but it cannot sleep in the tent so long as it 
is not a member of the Treaty Organization. This is not right.
  With what is happening in the world today, now is not the time to 
back down on supporting our allies. H. Res. 56 calls on the 
Administration, Department of State, and European allies to work with 
Greece and NATO allies to ensure that bilateral disputes do not impede 
Macedonia's NATO accession for the sake of regional stability in light 
of the current situation with Ukraine and elsewhere.
  Time and again, Macedonia has shown steadfast support for the efforts 
of the United States to restore and maintain global stability. 
Macedonia is one of America's best friends in Southeast Europe.
  But, Macedonia needs our support. It is long overdue that we use our 
diplomatic strength to reinforce our allies, and including Macedonia in 
the greatest military alliance in history is an important step in 
securing U.S. interests and maintaining this crucial partnership well 
into the future.
  I encourage my colleagues in this House to support H. Res. 56 and 
affirm strong U.S. support for Macedonia joining NATO.