“United States Remains Committed to Southeast Europe”

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 13, 2018 – The United States remains committed to Southeast Europe and those who want to divide us will not succeed, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said in Zagreb on Friday.

Mattis arrived in Zagreb to attend a special US-Adriatic Charter Defence Ministerial Meeting from a NATO summit in Brussels at which Macedonia was invited to join the alliance after it resolved a dispute with Greece about its name. The allies, however, did not activate the Membership Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is lagging behind in its euro-Atlantic efforts over internal disputes.

Mattis assured ministers from Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, that Washington was permanently committed to peace and stability in this part of Europe.

He indirectly sent a message to Russia, which the West often accuses of interfering in the integration of Southeast Europe with the EU and NATO. We are not naive and we are very much aware that some do not want us to succeed here today. Our meeting today is proof of unbreakable transatlantic ties, Mattis said. The United States will continue to strengthen partnerships in the region, that is part of our national strategy, the US official said.

His Croatian counterpart Damir Krstičević said that Southeast European countries and the United States were stronger and readier when they stood together. “Croatia is a small country, but it knows how to fight above its league. We are showing this in other areas as well, and the first example that comes to mind is the World Cup in Russia, where we will compete for the champion title on Sunday,” Krstičević said.

Croatia is taking part in NATO missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo and the Baltic. As of next month, Croatia will also be taking part in the Sea Guardian operation aimed at preventing people smuggling in the Mediterranean.

The U.S.-Adriatic Charter is an association formed by Albania, Croatia, Macedonia and the United States for the purpose of aiding their attempts to join NATO. The Charter was signed on 2 May 2003 in Tirana. In 2008 Bosnia, and Herzegovina and Montenegro joined the association. Croatia and Albania were admitted to NATO in 2009.

The Zagreb meeting of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter is aimed at stepping up the accession of the Southeast European countries that have still not joined NATO. Observers in the U.S.-Adriatic Charter are Slovenia, Kosovo and Serbia, whose Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin did not arrive in Zagreb as he has been declared persona non grata in Croatia.


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