Prime Minister Zoran Zaev met Friday with United States Ambassador Kate Byrnes, discussing developments related to the country’s EU integration, strategic bilateral cooperation and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both interlocutors, the government press service stated that the two countries want Macedonia’s EU accession negotiations to start by the end of the year, as an investment in regional stability and as an important process for ensuring prosperity for citizens.

According to Zaev and Byrnes, resolving bilateral issues should remain outside the negotiating framework between Macedonia and the EU, and any opposition or disabling of this process is directly detrimental to the cohesion of the transatlantic family of nations and contrary to the interests of stability and democracy in the region.

The US ambassador, as stated in the government’s press release, welcomed the government’s actions to suppress inciting public speech and supported the efforts to maintain a constructive and open dialogue on these issues.

Prime Minister Zaev, as it is pointed out, joined these views and expressed hope that the example of the government in promoting dialogue as a tool for solutions will be followed by all stakeholders in the country and the region.

Zaev expressed gratitude for the strategic and allied support that Macedonia receives from the United States and together with the Ambassador reaffirmed the commitment to continued and substantial cooperation in dealing with the coronavirus, as well as even greater direct US investment in energy, digital economy and cyber security, in accordance with NATO security standards.