Foreign Minister Kovač confirms that Croatian Army will take part in protecting the eastern borders of NATO member states.
Croatia will participate with its soldiers in four multinational battalions that NATO will deploy in eastern Europe, said on Friday in Warsaw Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miro Kovač, reports Index.hr on July 8, 2016.
“We will contribute to these battalions with Croatian soldiers. It has been decided that Croatia will actively help with its troops in the east of Europe”, said Kovač, who is in Warsaw as part of Croatian delegation at the NATO summit led by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.
Asked how many soldiers would participate in this mission, Kovač said that President Grabar-Kitarović and Defence Minister Josip Buljević would discuss the issue later. The four multinational battalions will each have between 600 and 1,000 soldiers, and will be under the command of the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the United States. They will be deployed in the three Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and in Poland.
They will be filled on a rotational basis, so Croatian soldiers will not participate in them anytime soon. It is expected that they might go there in 2017 or at the beginning of 2018. The final decision about sending Croatian soldiers abroad has to be made by Parliament.
“Wherever we were present with our army, our soldiers were great examples, primarily in Afghanistan, where we have done a lot, and there is no doubt that in Eastern Europe they will be of great help”, said Kovač.
He added that Croatia was strongly contributing to NATO, in particular as far as South Eastern Europe was concerned, that it had advocated and was advocating for the expansion of the zone of stability and security. In this regard, he announced that Croatia would soon ratify the protocol on the accession of Montenegro to NATO. He added that it was in Croatian interests for Bosnia and Herzegovina to move towards integration into NATO as soon as possible, and that the Membership Action Plan (MAP) is activated for the country as quickly as possible, as a form of preparation for membership in NATO.