* Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the 20th Anniversary of the Republic of Macedonia's independence. On September 8, 1991, the Republic of Macedonia declared its independence--becoming the only nation to peacefully secede from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In the twenty years since its independence, the Republic of Macedonia has transformed itself into a modern democratic nation that shares the core values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law with the United States of America. These great strides have put the Republic of Macedonia on the road to full membership in the European Union and NATO. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last year, ``The United States is committed to promoting Macedonia's membership in NATO and the European Union, and we will continue to help strengthen Macedonia's democratic institutions in cooperation with your leaders and civil society.''
* The United States of America and the Republic of Macedonia enjoy a cooperative relationship across a range of economic, cultural, military, and social issues. As the fourth largest contributor per capita in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan Macedonia has become one of the United States' strongest allies against transnational terrorism. This partnership is lasting and important.
* Macedonians have made an impact in the United States, as there are over half a million people of Macedonian heritage in this country. They dedicate their knowledge and skills to public service industries, science, and the arts. I am proud to represent many Macedonians in New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District.
* I congratulate the people of the Republic of Macedonia on the 20th anniversary of their country's independence and join the Macedonian-American community in my district and across the United States in celebrating this important occasion.