The Vermont National Guard is exploring ways to increase the state’s cooperation with North Macedonia, which joined NATO last year.
On Tuesday North Macedonia Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska and Major General Gregory Knight, the head of the Vermont National Guard, visited the Statehouse in Montpelier as part of the effort to discuss increased civic and economic cooperation.
Shekerinska met with Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lindsay Kurrle.
The Vermont National Guard and the military from North Macedonia have been working together since 1993. The two have participated in over 350 joint military exercises. In 2010 the cooperation included a joint deployment to Afghanistan.
North Macedonia joined NATO last year.
“It is the human contacts with Vermont, the day-to-day relationships between many men and women from both sides of the Atlantic that made (joining NATO) achievable,” said Shekerinska. “We pride ourselves to be an ally, but there is an extra level above being an ally, and that is being a friend, so I thank Vermont for being a friend to North Macedonia for all these years.”