Updated: 14-sep-10 NATO IMS Speech



5 May 2010

Opening remarks of the 163rd MCCS by Admiral di Paola, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

From the event
NATO Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence session - 5-6 May 2010

Goodmorning to all,

Before we start with the proceedings, I want us to remember our collegues from Poland. In particular, on your behalf, I want to remember General Francisek Gagor. He was one of us. He was one of the best of us. He was also the Dean of this Committee, a Chief of Defence. An outstanding officer. We will miss him. Thoughts go out to his wife.  I spoke to his wife Lucyna – who is also part of this Committee – and she said that when the time is appropriate she will come here and thank us all for our support. I would like you to rise for a few moments in ‘remembrance of the people that we have lost. 

Welcome the members of the media who are with us today for this opening session.

Now, let me move on to today’s business.  A warm welcome to all representatives who have enganged with us. So many additional nations to this meeting – demonstrating the continued involvement of so many partner nations in our operations and the shared belief in security for all nations, not just NATO nations.  We have, as usual, a busy schedule  - that is why we started so early – and we will take the opportunity not only to discuss on-going operations, but we will also hold specific sessions with some of our partners.

Today, we will concentrate on Kosovo and other operations, we will hear about the maritime operations, operation ocean shield and NATO training Mission-Iraq,  and Stéphane Abrial will talk about his efforts on NATO transformation.  For Kosovo, we will be joined – via VTC – by the Commander of NATO forces in Kosovo: Lieutenant General Markus Bentler and by the Commander of JFC Naples, Admiral Mark Fitzgerald. In this session we will hear from the civilian head of EULEX – Yves de Kermabon.  And from SACEUR, who are warmly welcomed.

This afternoon we will hold meetings with Ukraine and with Russia and later with Georgia. There will be some intense sessions.  For NATO and Ukraine, this is a particularly important day, as SACEUR, the operational commander, will sign, jointly with the Ukrainian and Turkish Chiefs of Defence, a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the establishment of a second connection for the exchange of Air Defence Information between Ukraine and NATO – utilising connectivity through Turkey.  Thank you for this.

Tomorrow there will be the informal meeting with the secretary general, who’s main agenda is reform. So you can ask him a lot of questions about nato reform.

After that we will focus on afghanistan, we will hear from Com ISAF, General Stan McChrystal, and the Secretary General’s Senior Civilian Representative, Ambassador Mark Sedwill. We will benefit from their presence. In addition we will have the benefit of the presence of the Afghan Chief of Defence, General Bismullah Mohammadi, and of the Afghan Chief of Police, Lieutenant General Mohammad Munir Mangal.

But now, I would like to make some specific welcomes:  to General Hakan Syren, the Chairman of the EU Military Committee with whom we will now share our ideas, just as we share many of the same challenges.  Also to SACEUR – Jim Stavridis,  and SACT – Stéphane Abrial.  We also welcome the new Chiefs of Defence of France – Admiral Edouard Guilliaud; and of Germany – General Volker Wieker and Gen. The acting polish chod. Lt Gen Mieczyslaw Stachoviak also I’d like to say hello to the Military Representatives of Bulgaria and the Netherlands, who are joining us for the first time.  And last, but by no means least, i have great pleasure in introducing Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin of the United States Marine Corps, who has recently joined us as the Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee.  Welcome to you all.

Now, I’d like to give the floor to Gen. (acting Polish Chod).

With that, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to move to our first agenda item – operations, but first i would like to ask the members of the media to leave the room

Thank you.

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