Croatia to Possibly Assist in NATO Operation in Aegean Sea

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Croatia to take part in Aegean Sea operation?

Croatia will consider how it could help NATO in its operation to control the Aegean Sea, which was agreed at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in order to combat the smuggling of refugees. New Croatian Defence Minister Josip Buljević took part in the meeting, reports Novilist on February 11, 2016.

“The military commander of NATO was ordered to make plans for deployment in the Aegean Sea, and these plans will be completed in ten days. Croatia will see how it can help with that. It is important to emphasize that this is not just a naval or military operation, but also an intelligence and police operation. Everything will be done in close cooperation with Frontex and a number of countries, and Croatia will certainly find a way to assist”, said Buljević after the meeting.

On Thursday, on the sidelines of the meeting of NATO defence ministers, Croatian Defence Minister Josip Buljević met with ministers from several NATO member states, including British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, and Defence Ministers from Albania and Georgia.

“We plan to enhance cooperation with the British Ministry of Defence. We are already undertaking joint activities and exercises and we have a lot of common interests. We are also preparing to sign an agreement of understanding and then we will have a bilateral meeting, either in London or Zagreb”, said Buljević.

The ministers discussed the current defence cooperation between the two countries and have agreed that it was good and substantial with a special emphasis on bilateral projects as well as on cooperation within NATO and the EU. Additional emphasis was placed on issues related to the current global and regional security challenges. Minister Buljević explained the strategic guidelines of Croatian defence policy and pointed to the security challenges in the Croatian neighbourhood, as well as on the borders of NATO and the European Union.

In addition to meeting with his British counterpart, during a two-day conference in the NATO headquarters Buljević had several other bilateral meetings. Croatian minister and his Albanian counterpart Mimi Kodheli welcomed the current level of successful cooperation between the two countries and confirmed a further commitment to the improvement of bilateral defence cooperation between Croatia and Albania.

Buljević also met with Georgian Defence Minister Tinatin Hidasheli and expressed his support for the territorial integrity of Georgia and Georgia’s European integration efforts.


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