Press statement by the Chairman of the Military Committee, General Petr Pavel
at the joint press conference following the NATO Military Committee Conference in Tirana, Albania
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening and thank you for coming for this press conference.
I would like to start this press conference by thanking General Kollaku and his entire team for hosting and support this Military Committee Conference. Your hospitality and efforts has been remarkable and thank you on behalf of the whole Military Committee.
As for the discussions we had throughout the day, let me now lay out several key points.
The Alliance faces a number of challenges. There are both complex internal sorry, external threats and internal adaptation tasks that the Alliance needs to address to ensure we continue to successfully fulfill the mission that began nearly 70 years ago to safeguard and defend our territory and populations from any threat, from any direction, across 360 degrees.
We started today by focusing on NATOs role in Projecting Stability as agreed at the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Whether we turn to the Middle East or North Africa or the Alliances doorstep in the Western Balkans, NATO has a role to play in shaping the security environment for the better. The Chiefs of Defence provided a number of concrete proposals with regard to military contributions to support a comprehensive, systematic and coherent approach to NATOs Projecting Stability agenda.
The Chiefs of Defence also welcomed the Hub for the South achieving its Initial Operational Capability and its role in improving our regional understanding.
With regard to the Western Balkans, the Chiefs of Defence expressed their support to continued Euro-Atlantic integration of the region, including through closer military cooperation.
As NATO adapts to the new security environment, we have been reviewing our processes to ensure a NATO Command Structure that is fit-for-purpose, robust and agile for the full level of ambition now and in the foreseeable future. After hearing from both of the Strategic Commanders, General Scaparrotti and General Mercier on the conceptual work carried out so far, the Chiefs of Defence provided additional guidance which will be reflected by the NATO International Military Staff and the two Strategic Commands in follow-on work ahead of the November Defence Ministerial meeting.
In the afternoon, the Commander of the RESOLUTE SUPPORT Mission, General Nicholson and the Senior Civilian Representative, Ambassador Zimmermann briefed us on the ongoing military and political situation in Afghanistan. The Chiefs of Defence reconfirmed their continued support to Afghanistan and stressed that the Mission remains conditions-based. They also recognized the need to fill the current CJSOR shortfalls.
The Chiefs of Defence also engaged in an in-depth discussion of the security situation in the Western Balkans. They evaluated, following a briefing from Major General Fungo, Commander of Kosovo Force (KFOR), our longest mission to date and the security environment in and around Kosovo. Reflecting on the stable but fragile security situation in the region, the CHODs reiterated that the duration of KFOR was dependent on the circumstances on the ground. They also underlined the importance of continued NATO-EU cooperation in the context of Projecting Stability.
Finally, in our last session of the day, the Chiefs of Defence elected the next Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. I would like now to congratulate Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach from the United Kingdom on his election. I am confident that with his vast experience as the Chief of Defence Staff and also as Military Committee member, he will do an excellent job leading the Military Committee and ensuring it continues to provide sound and unfettered military advice to the North Atlantic Council. I wish him best of luck in his future role, which he will assume in summer 2018.
This has been a very productive day. We engaged in frank discussion on difficult topics, and we succeeded in finding a common ground and identifying a clear way forward.