Washington, 18 April 2012 (MIA) - Macedonia is ready for NATO membership and the Alliance must remain open for new members, assessed former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Washington debate "Leadership: America's Critical Foreign Policy Role", organized by the Heritage Foundation.
"I worked very hard to resolve the Macedonian name issue. I know people are still trying to resolve the Macedonian name issue, and perhaps it will be. But I favor very much the integration of any European state that is ready, and it seems to me that Macedonia is ready", said Rice in response to a question by United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) President Metodija Koloski regarding Macedonia's NATO perspectives.
She recalled that at the time of the Bucharest Summit, the NATO communiqué actually said that Macedonia, as well as the Ukraine and Georgia, will become members of NATO, which was an affirmative statement of the rightness of their coming in.
"I have long believed that NATO must remain open to any European democratic state that wishes to join its ranks, because NATO was after all not to be an exclusive club, it was to be a collective security mechanism for democracies and in this regard, we pressed very hard, as a matter of fact, it integrated a number of East European states, including the Baltic states, which was thought to be at the time impossible to do", said Rice.
She hopes that NATO keeps remembering not just what it has meant to have these states in NATO, but what it has meant to these states to be in NATO.
"NATO and the European Union together have managed to make rather relatively smooth the transition from the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe to the integration of those states into Europe", underlined Condoleezza Rice, who currently works as Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, professor of political economy in the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and professor of political science at Stanford University.