Czech Republic praised for its commitment to Smart Defence
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised the participation of the Czech Republic in multinational Smart Defence projects during talks in Prague today with top officials including the Czech President and Prime Minister.
The Czech Republic is making a “valuable contribution” to building NATO’s capabilities through multinational cooperation, the Secretary General said after his talks with Prime Minister Petr Necas. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen also met separately with President Vaclav Klaus, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and Alexandr Vondra, the Defence Minister. The Secretary General thanked the Czech Republic for its contribution to NATO missions. “Your troops are making an important contribution to the stability of Afghanistan, where you train the Afghan Army and Police forces as well as operating a Provincial Reconstruction Team. I want to express NATO’s appreciation to all Czech soldiers in NATO operations,” said the Secretary General. “You are making a difference.”
On Smart Defence, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen commended the Czech Republic’s participation in several multinational projects. He pointed to the country’s involvement in the Alliance Ground Surveillance programme, which the Secretary General said would help fill a critical gap in NATO capabilities. The Czech Republic is also an active participant in a key project to lease big transport planes for NATO operations. “These examples show your commitment to cooperation and your participation in these projects benefits you and the Alliance as a whole. Because in these difficult economic times, we have to get the most out of every euro and crown we spend,” he said. The Secretary General added that he received assurances that the Czech government would keep defence spending stable despite the economic crisis. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen was in Prague to attend the annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, where he told parliamentarians that investment in defence and security remains essential despite the economic crisis.