Strategic Military Partner Conference begins
14. June 2011. | 10:58 19:12
Source: Emg.rs, Tanjug
The Strategic Military Partner Conference, which is attended by representatives of about 60 countries, began late Monday with an official reception at the Topcider Guard House in Belgrade.
The official opening of the conference, at which Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac, Chief of General Staff Miloje Miletic and Commander of the Allied Command Transformation Stephane Abrial will address the participants, was announced for Tuesday morning.
The conference is organized by Allied Command Transformation headquartered in Norfolk (US), and it includes chiefs of general staff and representatives of the member states of NATO, Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, as well as high EU and NATO officials.
The participants of the conference will exchange experience and opinions on the most important strategic issues of common interest.
Organizing the conference represents an opportunity to promote Serbia and the Serbian Armed Forces before the partner countries, and present the state as a reliable factor in facing current security challenges in the world and the region.
The respect which the world has for the Serbian Armed Forces has resulted in the NATO conference being held in Belgrade, said Sutanovac, and pointed out this was a security event, not a political and strategic one.
It is our great honor to host the meeting, despite that there are minority groups which oppose it, Sutanovac told Radio Free Europe.
Miletic stated earlier that the conference is probably this year's largest gathering of world military leaders, who will discuss answers to contemporary security challenges and threats.
“Around 60 countries have confirmed they will send their military delegations to this conference, organized by the Allied Command Transformation, and hosted by us,” Miletic told Tanjug.
State Secretary at the Serbian Defense Ministry Tanja Miscevic told Tanjug Monday that the conference is not jeopardizing the country's policy of military neutrality.
“The fact that it was agreed that such a high-level conference be organized in Belgrade and in Serbia is recognition of the VS efforts in joint engagements with different armies - both those from the East and those from the West,” said Miscevic.
The initiative to organize the annual conferences was launched at a NATO summit in Riga in 2006, and the previous hosts were FYRMacedonia, Norway, Albania and Finland.
Serbia committed to maintaining peace, security
Minister of Defence Dragan Sutanovac said today that Serbia is committed to regional cooperation and maintaining security in the area, but also global peace through participation in peacekeeping missions of the UN and the EU.
Opening a strategic military conference of NATO and its partner countries, which involves representatives of 56 member states of NATO, Partnership for Peace (PfP), Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and contact states, he stressed that the challenges, risks and threats in the modern world are common to all states.
He said that this meeting is an opportunity for an exchange of opinions because no country, no matter how powerful, is unable to cope with the very nature of transnational security threats.
The Minister said that the Serbian defence system is dedicated to dialogue, partnership and joint engagement, as well as strengthening international cooperation.
Serbia is fully committed to enhancing security and solving all problems in the region through dialogue and peaceful means, he said.
Sutanovac said that by participating in the PfP programme Serbia wants to contribute to all activities in the preservation of regional security.
The Minister said that cooperation and partnership with NATO have been improved in recent years and recalled that Serbia's interest is to participate in all regional initiatives.
He said that reforms in the Serbian Army have been completed, making it completely professional as of this year.
Sutanovac said that there is a great interest to enter the Military Academy and added that first women officers will complete their higher military education in September.
Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Army, General Miloje Miletic expressed satisfaction with the number of participants today and added that the theme of the conference will be to find common response to contemporary risks and threats.
Miletic said that the risks, threats and challenges for all participants of the conference are the same, and added that promotion of partnerships and other forms of cooperation will be discussed.
He pointed out to the Serbian military neutrality, but noted that Serbia is willing to engage its forces in multinational operations.
Serbia as a reliable partner within its capabilities, and wishes to contribute to a more secure global environment, said Miletic, adding that the defence system of our country has recognised the universal security challenges.
Supreme Commander of the Allied Transformation Command, General Stefan Abriel pointed out that the fact that this event took place in Belgrade is a clear sign for the future of the region.
He stressed that the military partnership is essential, adding that he is encouraged by the number of countries with which NATO cooperates outside the formal partnership.
Abrial: Serbia shares common security culture of contemporary world
Serbia is recognized as a partner country that shares a common security culture of the contemporary world, NATO Allied Command Transformation Commander, General Stephane Abrial, said Monday.
General Abrial met with Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac in Belgrade Monday.
Abrial praised the Serbian Defense Ministry and Armed Forces (VS) for a successful organization and extraordinary cooperation in the preparation of the Strategic Military Partner Conference, co-organized with the Allied Command Transformation, the Defense Ministry said in a website release.
Minister Sutanovac informed his guest about the results achieved in the defense system reforms that have been key conditions to put Serbia among countries with the capacity to contribute to international peace and security.
Trust is also being earned by such conferences, and credibility gained by readiness to reform a country's defense system in a way that it can respond to national, regional and global security challenges, Sutanovac said.