Operation Storm has changed the course of history and is now being taught at American military schools, said US Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, who met with his US counterpart James Mattis in Washington, stated that Croatia was closer to buying US aircraft and that the decision was expected by the end of the year, reports Večernji List on 13 July 2017.
“We have been waiting for the decision for 15 years, we have no more time… I have received Secretary Mattis’s support for this project. I think we are closer to purchasing US aircraft. The decision will be made by the end of the year,” said Krstičević.
During his visit to the United States, Minister Krstičević will visit Lockheed Martin, where he will meet with Vice-President for International Cooperation Nancy Ziuzin Schegel. As announced by the Ministry of Defence, Krstičević and Mattis stressed the exceptionally good cooperation between Croatia and the US as strategic allies and partners, especially in the field of defence and security.
The Ministry of Defence said that “Secretary Mattis pointed out that Croatia is a small country that contributes significantly to international security and is an example of a great NATO ally. He supported Croatia regarding the acquisition of new combat aircraft.”
The statement also adds that, at the beginning of the meeting, Secretary Mattis praised the Operation Storm, saying that it “had changed the course of history and is taught today at American military schools as an example of a well-prepared and well-executed military operation.”
At the meeting, they discussed the joint participation of the armed forces of the Republic of Croatia and the United States in NATO missions and operations around the world. “We are proud to serve side by side with Croatian soldiers in missions and operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo,” Mattis said, according to the Croatian Ministry of Defence statement, and Minister Krstičević stressed that the United States was the most important strategic partner of Croatia.
“We have been together in Afghanistan since 2003 and in Kosovo since 2008. I am proud that Croatia will be one of few NATO allies to participate in two combat groups: in Lithuania under the German leadership and in Poland under the American leadership, which shows our commitment to the alliance and responsibility for international actions,” said Minister Krstičević.
Krstičević and Mattis also discussed the common contribution to international security in crisis areas and efforts to combat terrorism, the security and political situation in the Croatian neighbourhood and Southeast Europe, the continuation of US support in the development of Croatian defence capabilities, and the continuation of bilateral defence cooperation.
During his official visit to the United States, Minister Krstičević has also visited the Arlington Cemetery in Washington and paid tribute at the tomb of unknown heroes.
During his visit, he will also meet with Deputy Director of the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency Greg Kausner and Director of Defence Intelligence Agency General Vicent Stewart. He will also meet with representatives of the Croatian diaspora.