US, Adriatic Charter military leaders reinforce charter commitments during conference



By U.S. European Command Public Affairs United States European Command Stuttgart, Germany Sep 22, 2022
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The leaders of U.S. European Command and the Montenegrin Armed Forces co-chaired the U.S. – Adriatic Charter (A5) Chiefs of Defense Conference Sept. 21-22, 2022, in Budva, Montenegro.

Chiefs of Defense or their representatives from the A5 Charter nations of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and the U.S. were present at the event, which was hosted by Montenegro. Delegations from Kosovo and Slovenia also attended as observer nations.

During the conference, military leaders from the A5 Charter nations and observer states discussed security challenges in the western Balkans and expressed solidarity with Ukraine following Russia’s unprovoked invasion. They also reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen relations and military cooperation amongst the A5 Charter nations in order to enhance regional security and defensive capabilities. Featured presenters included Royal Netherlands Navy Admiral Rob Bauer in his capacity as Chair of the Military Committee of NATO and President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, who delivered the keynote address.

"The A5 Chiefs of Defense Conference is one of the most successful regional events for addressing security and defense challenges and helps identify and address common security challenges," said Brig. Gen. Zoran Lazarevic, Chief of Defense of the Montenegrin Armed Forces.

Lazarevic also said that the implications of the Ukraine crisis extend beyond Ukraine and NATO presence in the region is of crucial importance for its stability.

“We have to be aware that this new challenge on European soil is a potential threat to our region as well,“ Lazarevic said. “Our countries have faced a number of political, economic, military and asymmetric threats and challenges in the last few years, with serious cyber-attacks as most recent."

The U.S.–Adriatic Charter was formed with the core task to enable nations in Southeast Europe to pursue, and ultimately, obtain, full NATO membership. To date, four U.S.– Adriatic Charter nations have ascended into NATO with North Macedonia’s ascension, which occurred in 2020, as the latest.

“The U.S.-Adriatic Charter has served as a bedrock for security cooperation in southeast Europe, and that cooperation is now more important than ever,” said U.S. Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander, U.S. European Command. "Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine is the greatest threat to European security that we have faced in many years. So, as we face this threat, our strongest and most enduring advantage is our unmatched network of Allies and Partners. Our ability to work together is key to ensuring we stand ready to defend and deter against all adversaries."

 

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