The US Ambassador to Macedonia, Kate Byrnes, took part in a presentation ceremony to hand over 1,200 M4 Carbines to the North Macedonian Army. The carbines will be issued to the Macedonian Army’s light infantry element which is preparing for upcoming NATO evaluations at the beginning of 2022. North Macedonia joined NATO in March 2020 becoming the 30th member state.
The Army of North Macedonia currently issues HK G3-pattern rifles and Zastava AK-pattern rifles in both 5.56x45mm and 7.62x39mm. A statement from the Macedonian ministry of defense noted that the handover of $1.2 million worth of carbines was another “example of how the two countries work together, ensuring interoperability not only with the United States, but also with other Alliance forces.” Macedonian defense minister Radmila Shekerinska said:
“This is part of a larger project funded by the US Government that helps modernize and equip our army forces. With this equipment, we practically provide over 1,200 M-4 automatic rifles with 5.56 caliber, which is a standard of NATO member states.”
“This year, for the first time, we managed to provide not only an increase in the defense budget, but also an increase in the percentage that will go towards equipment and modernization, and instead of the required 20 percent, we provided 25 percent for modernization and equipment. We, as an ally, have taken on responsibilities and are fulfilling them. We have already started the modernization with large projects, such as light armored vehicles coming from the United States, from where we have constant support both financially and in equipment.”
On twitter Ambassador Byrnes reitterated her remarks at the ceremony noting that: “The donation will strengthen the interoperability of North Macedonia’s forces with U.S. & NATO forces as we serve alongside each other during training, exercises, & international operations.”
The M4s were shipped with slings, back up iron sights, rail covers and magazines. The donation is part of a bigger package that will increase the number of donated M4s to over 2,000 and will also includes machine guns and grenade launchers.