A display of partnership between Vermont and North Macedonia took place under the Golden Dome on Tuesday as the European delegation was welcomed to the Green Mountain State.
North Macedonia Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska visited the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier, where she met with Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lindsay Kurrle to discuss new steps toward increased civic and economic cooperation.
The Vermont National Guard has been working with the North Macedonia military since 1993. The two have participated in over 350 joint military exercises, culminating in a joint deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.
“We’re ready to explore growing our relationship from military to military to include the possibility of an enhanced economic initiative,” Maj. Gen. Gregory Knight said.
The meeting comes on the heels of Knight’s trip to eastern Europe this spring. He, Gray and Kurrle toured the country looking for opportunities to partner on agriculture, tourism, academics and medicine.
“Security today looks different,” said Lt. Gov. Gray. “It includes economic security, climate security, and if we’re going to have a meaningful long-term partnership, economic relationship is really key.”
North Macedonia also recently earned new membership with NATO, which Shekerinska says is prompting this next level of partnership.
“It is the human contacts with Vermont, the day to day relationships with many men and women on both sides of the Atlantic that made this goal possible,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.