NATO Secretary General welcomes new Supreme Allied Commander Europe

  • 04 May. 2016 -
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  • Last updated: 04 May. 2016 15:10

United States Army General Curtis M. Scaparrotti took over command of NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) from General Philip M. Breedlove during a handover ceremony in Mons, Belgium on Wednesday (4 May 2016). Attending the ceremony, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked General Breedlove for his outstanding contribution to transatlantic security and welcomed General Scaparrotti to the Alliance. “Today we have come to honour two great men, General Breedlove and General Scaparrotti. Men who personify the enduring bond between Europe and the United States,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.

Welcoming the new Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), the Secretary General stressed that those who have served as SACEUR have helped to keep the nations of Europe and North America safe from harm. He highlighted that General Scaparrotti will now lead NATO’s militaries during the next phase of the Alliance’s long-term adaptation. “Enhancing our forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, projecting stability beyond our borders, improving our resilience to hybrid warfare and strengthening Allies cyber defences. There is a great deal to do. I am delighted that we have a man like General Scaparrotti to help take us forward,” said the Secretary General. General Scaparrotti will be responsible for the overall command of all NATO missions and operations, including in the Balkans, over the Baltic, in the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa.

Mr. Stoltenberg also paid tribute to General Breedlove for his distinguished career as Supreme Allied Commander. “Throughout these difficult times, your vision and your leadership have helped to make us more resilient, increased our level of readiness, strengthened our deterrence, and enhanced our partnerships,” he said. During General Breedlove’s command, NATO completed its combat mission in Afghanistan, handed full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to its own national forces, and launched a new NATO-led Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist those forces. The Secretary General stressed that NATO remains committed to supporting Afghanistan, building strong security forces and pushing back against violent extremists. He added that General Breedlove’s leadership has played a key role in implementing Wales Summit decisions, including the Readiness Action Plan, and paving the way for the next Summit in Warsaw in July.