ZAGREB, February 15, 2018 – Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević held talks with his US, UK, Montenegrin and Polish counterparts in Brussels on Wednesday about bilateral defence cooperation and the modernisation and equipping of the armed forces, the Defence Ministry said in a press release. The talks were held on the fringes of a NATO summit.
Krstičević and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis talked about bilateral cooperation and Croatia’s contribution to international peace efforts, notably within NATO, with Mattis praising the Croatian army and thanking Croatia for its contribution, the press release said.
In talks with UK Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson, Krstičević said he was pleased with the cooperation between the two countries’ armed forces after the two defence ministries signed a memorandum of understanding last year.
The two officials talked about the upcoming arrival in Croatia of British naval ships, the Royal Marines and Typhoon fighter jets, and agreed to meet soon.
Krstičević and Montenegrin Defence Minister Predrag Bošković agreed to enhance the cooperation between the two countries’ armed forces, underlining the importance of the joint training of troops for NATO missions. Krstičević expressed willingness to share the experience of Croatian troops in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence combat groups in Poland and Lithuania.
Krstičević and Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said bilateral cooperation was excellent and that it could be expanded, announcing that their ministries would sign a memorandum of understanding in the next few months. Krstičević said NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence was important for the training of Croatian troops and that his ministry planned for it to continue.
Krstičević said Croatian military products could be of interest to Poland and invited Blaszczak to attend the SSDA military equipment exhibition in Croatia in 2019.