On November 17, 2016, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) President Metodija A. Koloski, joined by UMD member, Zlata Unerkova, met with the Director of the Office of South Central European Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Matthew A. Palmer, and the Macedonia Desk Officer, Elaine M. Hensle, to discuss U.S.-Macedonia relations and ways in which the Macedonian-American community can get engaged and help strengthen the partnership between the two countries.
The group discussed the U.S. government’s commitment to Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, and held a timely discussion on the ongoing political crisis in Macedonia and the upcoming December 11th elections. The group agreed on the importance of ensuring that the elections are transparent, democratic, free, and fair so that the country can move past the political impasse and work on critical reforms that need to be adopted.
UMD reflected on the close partnership between the two countries and thanked the U.S. Department of State for its support to Macedonia, which allowed the country to achieve significant milestones in building its democracy over the past 25 years. However, despite these achievements, Macedonia still faces great many challenges, specifically in regards to the rule of law and democratic capacity building. UMD stressed the need for continued and robust U.S. foreign assistance during this crucial time in Macedonia’s history. In this regard, in March 2016, UMD submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; you may read it HERE.