By Adnan Prekic – Podgorica
The NATO Military Committee, the highest military body of 28 member countries, for the past two days has been acquainted with the reform and modernisation of the Montenegrin army. Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Knud Bartels said that the Alliance is committed to the future of the Western Balkans, as a natural part of the Euro-Atlantic family, in which he stated that he will continue to support Montenegro in order to achieve NATO standards. The aim of the visit was to introduce the Military Committee with the reform and modernisation of the defense system, as well as the level of competencies and plans for further development of the Army of Montenegro.
The Minister of Defence of Montenegro Milica Pejanovic-Đurisic, informed the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Knud Bartelsthe about the results accomplished within the defence system reforms and the plans for the following period. She particularly emphasised the progress concerning application of NATO standards and Montenegro participation in ISAF operation in Avganistan. The Minister of Defence also commented on the outcomes from the previous NATO Summit in Wales, where the Montenegrin results have been clearly recognised in the reform processes within the defence sector and by which Montenegro demonstrates the seriousness and commitment to Euro-Atlantic integrations as a strategic national objective.
Within this context, she welcomed establishing of more intensified and focused dialogue between the NATO and Montenegro and expressed confidence that the Ministry of Defence will continue the implementation of harmonised objectives and activities on a quality and sustainable manner.
General Bartels highly rated the reforms, which Montenegro has been implementing in the defence sector, and expressed special gratitude for its participation in the international missions and the ISAF operation.
Additionally, he emphasized that the cooperation between NATO and Montenegro has been exceptionally good, which especially refers to the cooperation in the military field which has been realised through several programs. He is convinced that the visit of the NATO Military Committee will be a great opportunity to immediately assess the accomplished, as well as the plans for further development of the Armed Forces of Montenegro.
In the framework of the official visit to Montenegro, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Bartels also met with the Chief of Armed Forces of Montenegro Admiral Radovan Samardzic. The Admiral introduced him to the progress concerning the establishing of military capabilities and plans for the modernisation of Armed Forces of Montenegro.
He pointed out the outstanding importance of the application of NATO concepts and programs for the further development of the Armed Forces of Montenegro and the improvement of its interoperability. He mentioned the country’s previous engagement in Afghanistan and informed his guest with the plans for continued participation in the mission after 2014.
Samardzic also stressed the importance of participation in NATO exercises as a best way of practical cooperation, which provided the knowledge and skills for AF members. He expressed his assurance that, in the period of more intensified and focused dialogue, the NATO will continue to provide support to Montenegro on its way to building contemporary and credible armed forces.
General Bartels expressed his gratitude for the invitation to visit Montenegro and the possibility this provides to NATO members to be better acquainted with the reform processes and the plans for realisation of the Armed Forces of Montenegro development.
The General estimated that Montenegro has been a confident partner in NATO operations and comprehensive military cooperation. He pointed out that it has been necessary to intensify the cooperation in the fields which have been crucial for achieving standards of a new NATO member.
Finally, Bartels confirmed the full commitment of NATO Military Committee to Montenegro and its intention to accomplish the planned goals, saying that on maritime security and environmental protection Montenegro and NATO Allies are already closely engaged in the regional maritime security architecture. Being a Mediterranean country with maritime economic interests and maritime infrastructure, is also something that will work to the benefit of Montenegro.