Visit of NATO ships strong support for Montenegro’s integration path

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    Bar, Montenegro (4 September 2015) – Four NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group TWO (SNMCMG2) arrived in Bar for a scheduled port visit, during the Group’s deployment to the Mediterranean to enhance maritime security and readiness, and in support of NATO counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE).

    Led by Captain Ramazan Kesgin, (TUR N), SNMCMG2 is currently composed of the flagship Turkish tender TCG SOKULLU MEHMET PASA and the minehunters TCG AKCAKOCA (Turkey), FGS WILHEIM (Germany) and HS KALLISTO (Greece).

    Since Turkey assumed command of SNMCMG2 in July, the Group has patrolled in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea, conducting mine counter-measures activities and contributing to maritime situational awareness with regard to counter-terrorism operations.

    Building upon the operational framework offered by the port visit, NATO’s Allied Maritime Command Chief of Staff (COS MARCOM), Rear Admiral Giorgio Lazio, is meeting with Montenegro leadership to discuss numerous issues of shared importance, to include OAE, mutually beneficial training opportunities, and cooperation within the Partnership for Peace framework.

    The port visit coincides with “Securing the Adriatic,” an expert roundtable co-organized by the NATO Defense College, MARCOM, and the Montenegro Ministry of Defense. The conference will focus on how NATO, EU and partner military forces can help manage risk and confront security challenges in the Adriatic Sea.

    During the port visit, the Group will share its experiences in mine warfare operations with Montenegro Navy officers and cadets and participate in activities designed to enhance understanding and friendship between the Montenegro Navy and NATO Sailors.

    Upon conclusion of the port visit, SNMCMG2 will participate in a passing exercise with Montenegro Navy ships, while embarking Sailors to observe the exercises from aboard the NATO ships. These activities at sea are designed to enhance interoperability and familiarity between naval partners.

    “The Montenegro Navy is a trusted and valuable partner for NATO on the Alliance’s southern flank,” said Captain Kesgin. “Our visit should help to broaden NATO’s relationship with Montenegro, identifying new opportunities to cooperate during operations and exercises afloat.”

    Source: Government of Montenegro