Skopje, Macedonia - Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus completed a partnership-building visit to Macedonia today.

"I came to Macedonia to underscore the importance of the partnership between our two nations and our two militaries," said Mabus. "The Macedonian forces have proven their professionalism and skill in Afghanistan many times (while working with U.S. forces)."

While in Skopje, Mabus met with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and Minister of Defense Zoran Jovleski.

"I had excellent meetings with the prime minister, the president and the minister of defense," he said. "The cooperation and the way we have worked together in both Iraq and Afghanistan has been crucial to our partnership."

During his meetings, Mabus also discussed the value of building interoperability through military-to-military engagements.

"That is why operations like Platinum Wolf, which our Marines just concluded with the militaries of several countries, including Macedonia, and exercises Platinum Lion and Platinum Eagle, scheduled for next year, are so important," said Mabus. "We have agreed to explore other avenues of cooperation and I look forward to working with (Macedonia) to ensure our partnership grows deeper and stronger."

During his time in Skopje, Mabus also met with Marines at the U.S. embassy to thank them for their service.

Mabus is in the region to meet with Sailors and Marines, and civilians and military officials, as part of a multi-nation visit to the U.S. Pacific, Europe and Africa Command areas of responsibility.