Почитуван Претседател на Република Македонија,
почитуван Претседател на Парламентот на Република Македонија,
почитувани пратеници и министри,
почитувани претставници на политички партии, колеги дипломати, гости и пријатели,
Дами и господа,
Ми претставува огромна чест и задоволство да ви посакам добредојде на прославата на роденденот на Нејзиното Величество Кралицата.
Formal relations between UK and the Republic of Macedonia have now entered their third decade. In that time a friendship has developed between us based on shared interests and on open, honest exchanges.
That is the strongest type of friendship, the strongest type of international relationship. Increasingly, it extends well beyond the diplomatic. Trade, investment, sporting and cultural links are all growing strongly.
As Macedonia continues its journey towards joining NATO and the European Union, we continue to work together in areas where British experience can add particular value: defence and police reform, public administration, the economy, strengthening civil society and the media. These are all vital areas in any thriving democratic society. Britain and Macedonia will continue to work together to achieve shared goals.
This year Britain celebrates 30 years of the Chevening scholarship scheme. Chevening was set up as a way of investing in talent around the world, to the mutual benefit of Britain and its partner countries. In its time here, the scheme has brought over a hundred Macedonians to study in the UK. And Chevening alumni are dotted across Macedonian politics, business, civil society, research, arts and culture. There are many here tonight. You contribute to a special bond between Macedonia and Britain.
Last week, our Foreign Secretary William Hague jointly hosted with Angelina Jolie the Global Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict. This is an area which the international community has neglected or tolerated for too long. But it is also one in which cooperation between us can make a difference. The global summit showed that. And we welcome Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki’s statement in London about the role of education and active involvement of women in creating stable and productive societies.
I first came to Macedonia in 1996, almost 20 years ago. It was a short visit, but long enough to gain an impression of a country with stunning natural beauty and wonderful mountains. As a mountaineer and keen cyclist, I am delighted to see that the mountains are still there and waiting! And I look forward to exploring them fully. I am glad to say that the famously warm Macedonian welcome remains the same too.
Back in 1996 I also gained some impressions of a young country with ambitious goals. Unlike the mountains, much has changed on that front. Macedonia has made big steps forward. But it has also suffered setbacks, and there’s no doubt this is a challenging journey. It is an honour and a privilege to me to have been asked to make part of that journey alongside you.
Before the Toast, I would like to say thank you.
I am immensely grateful to our sponsors this evening whose names you will find in your programme. I would like to make particular mention of Johnson Matthey, celebrating a year in which they increased their investment and commitment to Macedonia.
I would like to thank my new colleagues at the British Embassy for all the planning and hard work that has gone into this evening. I consider myself particularly lucky to have parachuted in to Skopje just before an event that has been weeks in the making.
And I would like to thank all of you, friends of the British Embassy, for joining us to help celebrate the occasion.
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Connect with the British Ambassador @BritAmbCGarrett.