|Updated: 14-Jul-2008||IMS News Release|
6-8 July 2008
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee addresses
Antalya, Turkey 6-8 July 2008 – Admiral Di Paola addressed two different events in Antalya, the first being the 2nd Balkan CHODs Conference, and the second being the Silk Road Seminar 08.
Chiefs of Defence from Turkey, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Greece came together in Antalya to attend the Balkan CHODs Conference, hosted by Turkish General Staff Chief Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. The Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola and the Chairman of EU Military Committee. General Henri Bentegeat were special invitees. Also present was the Commander, Allied Joint Force Command, Naples.
The main outcome of the conference was the strong will expressed by all the CHOD’s to enhance military cooperation among Balkan Countries, in order to meet the regional security challenges coherently, in tandem with the efforts of those international organizations assuming security roles in the Balkans.
Underlining the great importance of regional cooperation initiatives like the Balkan Conference, Admiral Di Paola, said in his remarks, “We have made amazing progress in this region over the past decade and NATO has played a critical role in that transformation.”
“The Balkans are unrecognisable from the region of only a few years ago,” added Di Paola, emphasizing that a stable Balkans means a stable South Eastern Europe and this is an integral part of NATO’s strategic vision.
The Conference also approved a number of joint military activities to be conducted in the coming years, in the field of common training, education and exercises.
This is the second time the Balkan Chiefs of Defence have held such a conference, the first being held in Thessaloniki, Greece on April 18, 2007. The next Balkan CHOD’s Conference will be held in Serbia, in 2009.
The Silk Road Seminar was the second high-level event taking place in this Turkish coastal city in July 08. This annual event was attended by over 200 people from 49 countries. The theme of the Seminar was "Global Security and International Cooperation"
In his remarks Admiral Di Paola mentioned the five principal challenges that the International Community, and consequently NATO, must address in some form or another: failed states; the growing danger of non-state actors; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the growing demands for energy, and climate change.
“Although not all primarily military in nature, these challenges have profound military implications on the way we prepare for and run future operations, “ said Di Paola, stating that his mission, on behalf of the Military Committee, will continue to provide timely, professional, unfettered military advices to the North Atlantic Council to face these and future challenges.
While the three main focuses remain operations, transformation and cooperation with NATO members and partners, Di Paola reminded of the importance of dialogue with the EU and with Russia for a NATO that , as he concluded, is “Effective now, forward looking, responsive and responsible today and tomorrow.”