Updated: 20-Nov-2009 IMS News Release

18-19 Nov. 2009


Chairman of the Military Committee Visits Israel

18-19 November 2009

Chairman of the Military Committee
Mediterranean Dialogue

Tel Aviv (Israel) – 19 November 2009: The Chairman of the Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, has today concluded his official country visit to Israel, conducted on invitation of the Israeli Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi. The visit, which took place within the framework of relationships with the Mediterranean Countries, intended to assess the status of the military cooperation with Israel, and look at the way ahead.

Admiral Di Paola visited the Menashe Regional Brigade in Jenin, then flew to the Sirkin Base where he received a comprehensive briefing about the operations run by the “Yahalom”, the Special Operations Engineering Unit, as well as a presentation on the assets available.

Later the Chairman went to Kyria where he met with Israel Defense Forces Staffs, and discussed Israel Defence Forces (IDF) - NATO cooperation and IDF Training Force Development.  Gen Ashkenazi confirmed that “relationships with NATO are very important. We are looking forward to increase all forms of cooperation with the Alliance.”

Admiral Di Paola thanked Israel for its participation in the Mediterranean Dialogue programme, and for the nation’s support to the Alliance. “Relationships with Israel, and the MD and ICI countries, are fundamental for the Alliance's outreach in the context of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue,” he said. Both agreed that NATO and Israel share common interests and face common security challenges, which they wish to address through their cooperation in the Mediterranean Dialogue.

On the second day of the visit, the Chairman visited the Southern Command. During the visit, he was informed on the security challenges IDF face in the south of their country. Back in Tel Aviv, he met with the Minister of Defense of the IDF, Mr. Ehud Barak.  Their discussion focused on the evolution of the situation in Afghanistan and on the ongoing work for the new Strategic Concept for NATO, as it relates to NATO partners. Before leaving the Israel capital, a visit was conducted to the 200th Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Squadron at Palmahin Air Force base.

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