From 27 to 28 May 2019, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Lieutenant General Steven M. Shepro visited Croatia, where he met with the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Mr. Damir Krstičević, and the Croatian Chief of Defence, General Mirko Šundov.
ieutenant General Shepro congratulated Croatia on its Armed Forces Day and its 10thAnniversary of NATO membership. The Deputy Chairman noted how Croatia’s 10thanniversary fell in the same year as NATO’s 70th anniversary – both anniversaries marking success.
“Croatia joined the Alliance for peace and stability, and now it exports those to assure peace and stability across Europe and beyond”.
Lt Gen Shepro’s meeting with the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Mr. Damir Krstičević, focused on Croatia’s contribution and commitment to the Alliance. LtGen Shepro stressed how the Alliance values Croatia and how its membership strengthens NATO’s collective defence and supports its shared security,
Minister Krstičević and Lieutenant General Shepro also discussed the importance of capabilities and the role that Croatia plays in South Eastern Europe. Lieutenant General Shepro welcomed the country’s increased defence investments and strong commitment to helping the Western Balkans move closer to Europe by playing a leadership role in the region.
Speaking with General Mirko Sundov, the Deputy Chairman welcomed Croatia’s ongoing contribution to NATO’s Missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo as well as its contribution to the Alliance’s enhanced forward presence battlegroups. Lt Gen Shepro underlined that Croatia ‘walks the talk’ when it comes to its contributions. He also took the opportunity to thank the Chief of Defence for his strong leadership and praised the pride and professionalism across the Croatian Armed Forces.
Congratulating Croatia on its 10th anniversary as a NATO member, Lieutenant General Shepro highlighted that:
“Croatia can attest after 10 years that in this increasingly complex world, it’s good to have friends, notable the 29-nation Alliance’s circle of almost 1 billion citizens with over half the world’s GDP and defence spending. Moreover, Croatia has proved itself to be a model friend. In 10 years it has become an example of commitment to readiness and interoperability.”
While in Croatia the Deputy Chairman visited Pleso Air Base where he met with the Croatian Air Force Commander, Brigadier General Mato Mikić, toured the base and met with Croatian Air Force pilots.
Lt Gen Shepro also met with Colonel Željko Belić, Commander of one of NATO Communication and Information Systems Battalions. He received a briefing on how the Battalion provides support to NATO’s ongoing Missions and regional exercises.
Finally, Lieutenant General Shepro visited the Croatian Defence Academy where he delivered a lecture on current threats and challenges facing the Alliance and the importance of military education.