Opening remarks by the Chairman of the Military Committee, General Petr Pavel
at the joint press conference with the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Curtis M. Scaparrotti and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Denis Mercier
Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Let me begin this press conference by giving you an overview on the main outcomes of the first Chiefs of Defence meeting in 2017.
Our meetings have been very productive and allowed for frank and lively debates. The Chiefs of Defence were able to evaluate and shape future work as well as provide additional guidance on key areas, which will be subsequently discussed by Ministers next month during their Defence Ministerial.
In our morning session, the Chiefs of Defence discussed their military advice on NATO Command Structure Functional Assessment, the progress on both the Defence and Deterrence and Projecting Stability work strands, as well as NATO’s posture and continued adaptation.
NATO’s purpose and role to safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means is as relevant today with the new and unconventional challenges facing the Alliance as it was at its inception.
NATO is at the forefront of the fight against international terrorism. Countering terrorism is a complex challenge that cannot have just a military response. We have continued this support to Afghanistan with our Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces and institutions.
In our meeting in Resolute Support format, the Chiefs of Defence were briefed on the ongoing security challenges in both Afghanistan and the surrounding region. Noting that the situation in Afghanistan remains difficult and that the Afghan Security Forces have taken many casualties, the CHODs took the opportunity to recognise their efforts as they continue to defend the Afghan people with determination, courage and combat enemy across the country. The CHODs also stressed the importance of working with Afghanistan to encourage all regional actors to play a constructive role to find a lasting solution. This is the best way to support efforts to fight terrorism - stabilise Afghanistan and to support the unity of it.
Meeting with our Mediterranean Dialogue partners and Interoperability platform counterparts, the Chods emphasized how essential mutual understanding was in order to further our practical military cooperation while also emphasizing the individual requirements of each Nation. They highlighted the need to increase the effectiveness of our partnership programmes via the Individual Tailored Roadmaps and to augment interoperability. With regional challenges affecting global security more and more, holistic approaches that bring together military, political and economic efforts will enable us to respond more effectively.
Today’s sessions began with Ukraine. The Chiefs of Defence briefed on the current state of affairs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the progress in defence reforms and the situation in and around Ukraine. The Chods commended the defence reform efforts while reaffirming their support for the sovereign and territorial integrity of Ukraine and their refusal to recognise Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.
During the meeting on Georgia, the Chods received an update on the status of the Substantial NATO Georgia Package as well as a briefing on the security situation in and around Georgia. They noted ongoing challenging security situation and stressed their commitment to the close cooperation and support between NATO and Georgia. They also commended Georgia for their significant contribution to our Resolute Support Mission.
In our last meeting today, the Chods held a candid discussion on Russia. The Chiefs of Defence highlighted Russia’s increased assertiveness and encouraged me to continue to explore the options for a meaningful dialogue with General Gerasimov in order to increase our risk reduction and transparency efforts.
With that said, I will now hand the floor to SACEUR, General Scaparrotti and subsequently to SACT, General Mercier.
Mike, over to you.