By David EdendenUS Congressmen: Macedonia deserves thanks for doubling its commitment in Iraq:
Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Mark Souder say "Thank You Macedonia" for new troops in Iraq. Senator Barack Obama continues to say "Drop Dead Macedonia"
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
| We write today to thank one of our great allies in southeastern Europe-the Republic of Macedonia-for its recent commitment to double the number of Macedonian troops serving alongside our brave men and women in uniform in Iraq, and to acknowledge the successes Macedonians have recently achieved in their country, US Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Mark Souder say in their letter to the US Congress. Earlier this year, without hesitation and without conditions, the Government of Macedonia made a commitment to double its troop commitment in Iraq. Since 2003, our ally Macedonia has had troops in Iraq serving with U.S. and other coalition forces.|
- The late President Boris Trajkovski, a staunch ally and friend of the United States, unhesitatingly agreed to commit troops to Afghanistan and later Iraq, when asked. The current government, led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, continues with that spirit of friendship and commitment to helping a people who want to share in democracy's benefits and blessings, the letter reads.
The Republic of Macedonia has shown us that it is a true friend of our nation. Macedonia's increase is needed, welcome and consistent with its friendship and partnership with the United States of America. We thank the government and people of Macedonia for their continued support and friendship.
At the same time, we want to acknowledge Macedonia's successes at home as a result of reforms and actions taken by the Macedonian government.
- As Macedonia, together with our friends Albania and Croatia, expect an invitation to join NATO at the Bucharest Summit in April of next year, it is important to recognize and reaffirm their commitment to transforming their country into a dynamic one oriented to the free-market, pluralistic democracy, and the rule of law, the Congressmen say in their letter.
Recently, the World Bank's Doing Business in 2008 Report ranked Macedonia fourth among top-10 reformers in 2006-07. According to the report, Macedonia undertook several measures to bolster economic activity so that it's now easier for businesses to start up and get going. The corporate and individual tax rate is a flat 12 percent this year, and it will be lowered to 10 percent on January 1,2008. Tax payment procedures have been simplified. At the same time, the "regulatory guillotine" (as it has been called) is now slicing through unnecessary bureaucratic barriers creating even more opportunities for business to flourish.
In addition, Transparency International noted that Macedonia has made significant movement toward eliminating corruption, giving Macedonia a score of 3.3 in 2007 in their Corruption Perception Index. This is a significant improvement from 2.7 in 2006, and Macedonia now ranks fifth in the region, up from twelfth in 2006. Overall, Macedonia jumped 21 places, from 105 in the world (2006) to 84 (2007).
The bottom line in all this is that our friend Macedonia is now a producer of stability in southeastern Europe, at home, regionally and abroad.
- A friend like Macedonia is worth celebrating, acknowledging and helping and today, we extend our hands of thanks in friendship, the letter reads.