Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little provided the following readout:
“Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta met with Republic of Macedonia Minister of Defense Fatmir Besimi at the Pentagon today to discuss a range of defense and security issues. Minister Besimi shared his views from his recent trip to Afghanistan and Secretary Panetta expressed his gratitude for Macedonia's steadfast contributions to coalition operations and support of the Lisbon timeline.
“Secretary Panetta told Minster Besimi that he looks forward to the country's future accession to NATO. The two leaders also exchanged ideas on regional relations in Southeastern Europe and how to preserve critical capabilities in the current budget environment, particularly NATO smart defense initiatives. Both leaders look forward to continued dialogue in the future.”