From 2 to 3 October, the NCI Agency General Manager and its Director of Demand Management were part of a high-level meeting of 17 Ministers from South-Eastern Europe and NATO, aimed at moving forward projects to develop regional defence capabilities in a collaborative, cost-effective manner.
The meeting of the US-Adriatic 5 and the South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial were hosted by Slovenia as part of a Comprehensive Regional Defence Ministerial meetings, with the Adriatic 5 being chaired by Montenegro.
NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow delivered the keynote address (read in full on the NATO HQ website) at the Adriatic 5 meeting; in this address he drew attention to the support that the Agency can provide to countries in the region in developing interoperable, cost-effective defence capabilities. He praised the countries for working together to boost their contribution to NATO missions and operations, including the use of the South-Eastern Europe Brigade in Afghanistan, as well as the countries’ contribution to training of Afghanistan’s military police.
Three specific projects supported by the Agency were discussed at the meeting – the Balkans Regional Approach to Air Defence (BRAAD), the South-Eastern Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG), and the South-Eastern Europe Simulation Network (SEESiM).
From adversaries to partners
"Countries, which – not so long ago – confronted each other in conflict are now looking at joint approached to the development of new defence capabilities, such as air defences," said Koen Gijsbers, "As a former commander of NATO peacekeeping forces in the region, this progress is heartwarming and I am proud that our Agency can play a role in the development of collaborative approach to regional defence capabilities."
In a memorable moment, for the first time, both the Minister of Defence of Serbia and Kosovo’s Security Forces Minister took part in the meeting.
In addition to the formal sessions, Agency cooperation with countries in the region was the subject of bilateral meetings with the Croatian, Romanian,Slovenian, Bulgarian and Turkish Ministers of Defence, head of delegations of Greece, Romania, and the Commander SEEBRIG. Furthermore side discussions were held with the heads of delegations of Albania, Serbia, and Kosovo.
The Ministerial meeting also hosted a special display that highlighted how NATO Agencies support cooperation with NATO Partners countries, including in South-Eastern Europe.
The NCI Agency, in addition to providing essential services to the Alliance, plays a significant role in assisting both NATO and Partner countries in developing their national defence capabilities in an interoperable, cost-effective manner. This includes a number of high profile multinational projects.
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