Joint Statement by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of Macedonia Nikola Poposki

November 21, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today had a warm and constructive meeting in Ottawa with Nikola Poposki, Macedonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. During the meeting, the two ministers reaffirmed the close and vibrant partnership between Macedonia and Canada, which is rooted in the values the two nations share and nurtured by the deep and multifaceted human ties, friendship, trust and close cooperation between the two governments.

The ministers held wide-ranging discussions on a number of pressing global issues and other matters of mutual interest. Baird highlighted the significant contribution and the active role of the Macedonian community in building Canadian society and in supporting the strong and lasting ties between the two nations. Minister Poposki expressed gratitude for Canada’s support and integration of numerous immigrating Macedonians, and the promotion of their identity and culture.

Emphasizing that both Canada and Macedonia promote the values of democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and religious freedoms, the ministers  reaffirmed their commitment to global security and shared views on issues of mutual concern, including Iran, North Korea, and the destruction of Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

The ministers also reaffirmed their respective country’s commitment to peace, stability and prosperity in Southeast Europe, and exchanged views and information on Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. In this context, Canada reaffirmed its support of Macedonia’s NATO membership.

During their meeting, the ministers also devoted their attention to economic, trade and investment ties, noting the recently concluded air services agreement between the two countries. Both countries are committed to macroeconomic stability and the development of business-friendly economies. The ministers discussed the need to use the full potential of business and investment activities in the favourable business environments of the two countries. In this context, they were pleased to announce the launch of negotiations of a bilateral foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA). This FIPA will provide better protection for Canadian and Macedonian investments in each other’s markets, strengthen overall economic ties and promote growth, employment and prosperity in both countries.

The ministers concurred that recent high-level visits have deepened the connection between Canada and Macedonia and laid the groundwork for an even stronger partnership.

They expressed satisfaction with the strengthened cooperation between the two countries and agreed to continue on that path by enhancing bilateral relations through high-level exchanges and inter-parliamentary contacts, and by encouraging partnerships between businesses, institutions and people. The ministers agreed to explore ways to further facilitate bilateral political and economic relations.

Baird and Minister Poposki will travel to Halifax to participate in the Halifax International Security Forum, to be held November 22 to 24, which brings together decision makers from governments, militaries, business, academia and the media in an informal, discussion-based atmosphere to consider a range of pressing international security issues.

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