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Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Joint Press Conference with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
May 17, 2003

Trajkovski: First of all, I would like to greet Mr. Wolfowitz, whom I particularly appreciate as a person, a person who has taken an active part in promoting democracy and peace throughout the world. He is here today to express his appreciation to the Macedonian Government on his behalf and on behalf of the American administration for Macedonia's support to the coalition from the very beginning. I also took the opportunity to inform Mr. Wolfowitz that Macedonia will send a 40-man troop to Iraq on June 6th in order to support the democratic processes, and provide humanitarian support, which is now essential, and also in order to carry out peace and law and order. We came to the conclusion that millions of Iraqis have been liberated thanks to President Bush's vision, leadership and courage, and - this is my personal observation - millions of people will remember Iraq's liberation as an act of democracy. Once again, I would like to applaud Mr. Bush and his administration on their efforts and their support. This means that Macedonia will continue to support U.S. administration policy and activities.

I also expressed my gratitude for the signing on June 2nd of the Adriatic Charter, which is a very important document for us, which will mean support in the effort that we have put in our defense and security reforms, which will also encourage the comprehensive democratic processes in our country, and thus allow for Macedonia to be highly prepared for the new round of NATO enlargement.

Mr. Wolfowitz was also interested in the current political and security situation in the country and the region, as well as in the processes of security stabilization in the country and the political process in general. He also expressed U.S. commitment for further continuous support of the positive democratic processes in Macedonia. Thank you.

Wolfowitz: Thank you, Mr. President. We had a very good meeting. It was a chance for me to express our support for democracy and a peaceful settlement of disputes here in Macedonia. Macedonia is setting an example that is particularly valuable in this part of the world, an example that differences can be settled peacefully and by negotiations, and not through the use of force. I also had a chance to express my personal appreciation for Macedonia's support for us in Iraq. I appreciate the President's strong personal support in that issue, and his understanding of what has been accomplished in Iraq is nothing less that the liberation of millions of people from one of the world's worst dictatorships.

We also applaud the Adriatic Charter and the aspiration of Macedonia and its neighbours to become full members of the Euro-Atlantic community and to fully incorporate democratic values into Macedonia and its new system. And as part of that I think that the reform of the Macedonian armed forces is an essential element of building a democratic Macedonia and we support Macedonia in that effort.

Let me just say that I've just come from visits to Bosnia and to Kosovo, and the U.S. has made a great commitment to supporting peace and stability in this troubled part of the world. We're committed to seeing that effort through to success and we view Macedonia as an important partner in that effort.

Thank you very much.

Q: (unintelligible)

Trajkovski: There was an expert team in Macedonia and the arguments they presented are actually the U.S. official position. These arguments are going to be reviewed by the Macedonian government, however, I expect and I hope that our decision will be in line with our national and state interests and, of course, in line with the experience of the already confirmed partnership and cooperation between Macedonia and the United States.

Reporter: (unintelligible)

Wolfowitz: I'm sorry, I've been travelling and do not have any news. If you're telling me there's been another terrorist attack in Morocco I'm not surprised. The terrorists are still there, they're still dangerous. We've had some great successes against them over the last year and a half, and particularly in recent months. And I think that they should chose to attack Morocco tells something about their terrible motivations. Morocco stands out in the area of the world as a country that is making significant strides toward democracy and I think that terrorists oppose progress, they want to take Arab and Muslim people backward. I don't believe that's where the great majority of Arabs and Muslims want to go.

Q: From the very beginning, Macedonia supported the U.S. with regards to the Iraqi issue. 39 troops will go to Iraq in June to help establish peace there. Will there be room in Macedonia in the reconstruction of Iraq?

Wolfowitz: I think there is a great role for any country to play in supporting Iraqi reconstruction that wishes to help Iraqi people build a better future, and I think the fact that Macedonia was one of the countries to stand up early in support of Iraqi freedom is something that Iraqi people will probably remember for a long time to come. Obviously the ultimate role for any country to play in Iraq is going to be something that is up to the Iraqi people, but I think Macedonians should find themselves very welcome and should be appreciated.