03 X 2017

The Head of MOnD in the Balkans

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Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz is visiting the Balkans from 1st to 3rd October, 2017. On Sunday, October 1, Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz and Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Croatia Damir Krstičević participated in the jubilary 25th Pilgrimage of the Croatian Armed Forces, police forces  and the Croatian defenders in Marija Bistrica. In the pilgrimage took part almost 3.5 thousand people - soldiers, policemen, veterans, uniformed workers.

zdjęcie - The Head of MOnD in the Balkans
Photo: MAJ Robert Siemaszko/MoND

At the press conference, Minister Macierewicz thanked the Croatian Army for its involvement in projects aimed at increasing security on NATO's Eastern flank.
- I want to thank the Minister of Defence of Croatia, the Croatian government and the Croatian Army, whose detachment will take part in the battlegroup in Poland from October thus strengthening the NATO's eastern flank. It is extremely important to us. This contribution of Croats to  mutual defence is extremely important.
As stressed Minister Antoni Macierewicz: next meeting will be devoted to discuss methods of intensifying of the  Polish-Croatian cooperation. We will elaborate and maybe we will need to involve a joint unit, perhaps another solution to strengthen and deepen our military cooperation.

- We will also talk about NATO, which now is changing its shape and builds a new command system. We will also talk about the headquarters in Elblag. Tomorrow, for sure, we will discuss threats to the Eastern flank - said the Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence at the meeting.
- I want to stress that Poland is a friendly and fraternal country for Croatia. Our cooperation is historical. I am very glad that new initiatives appeared today. We have common points of reference, ideas and I truly belief that we will deepen these matters tomorrow. We are aware that the image of security in Europe has changed and it is very important for us to exchange our experiences and ideas. In the near future Croatian soldiers will join the multinational battlegroup stationed in Poland.(…). It is an expression of our friendship and support for Poland. Tomorrow we will talk about ways to deepen bilateral cooperation - added Minister Damir Krstičević.

On Monday, 2nd October, the Croatian Ministry of Defence in Zagreb hosted a meeting of Ministers of Defence of Poland and Croatia.
- Polish Special Forces support building of a NATO center of excellence based in Croatia  - said after the meeting Minister Antoni Macierewicz. The Head of MOnD also said that both countries had agreed on the possibility of co-operating in the repairing of helicopters. This is an important project both for Croatia and Poland.
Minister Macierewicz thanked Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Damir Krstičević for sending an artillery unit, which will be the part of the NATO battlegroup stationed in Orzysz and Bemowo Piskie, Poland.

On Monday afternoon in Podgorica Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz talked with Minister of Defence of Montenegro Predrag Bošković.
- Thank you for your readiness in participating with the Montenegrin detachment in the NATO battlegroup, which is deployed to Poland on NATO's Eastern flank, and which today plays a fundamental role in defending, counteracting and deterring any attempt of aggression against Poland and NATO. Thank you for sacrifice and effort of the Montenegro army. Thank you for your determination - said Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz after talks with Minister Predrag Bošković.

- Poland is especially interested in strengthening NATO alliance and we are very pleased that Montenegro is a member of the alliance and furthermore Montenegrin experience, potential and also the Navy will support the security of our countries - said Minister Macierewicz.

As Minister said: today's talks were related, among others, to international politics, but also concerned the army and the defence industries. We also talked about an initiative that develops from the experience of this Summer, an initiative of the presidents of the countries of Central Europe, which was so strongly supported by President Trump and resulted in the form of the conference of the Three Seas Initiative - stressed Minister Macierewicz.

- There is no doubt that in today's uneasy and threatened world the stronger transatlantic integration is, and the more we communicate within the European area, the more we will be resistant to external threats - said the Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence at the press briefing.

3rd October 3 (Tuesday), Albania

On Tuesday in Tirana Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz held talks with Minister of Defence of Albania Olta Xhaçka.

- We have talked about the most important issues for the security of Europe, whole transatlantic community and for the whole world. We have made decisions that not only strengthen our cooperation, but can bring measurable results for the whole of Europe and the region of Central Europe, said Minister Macierewicz after the meeting.  As the Head of the Polish Ministry of National Defence ensured: - Poland, Polish soldiers and our contingents that are stationed in Kosovo and other parts of the Balkans, will support your efforts and we will stay here as long as you will need us. - I want to thank the Albanian Armed Forces for strengthening the Eastern Flank, for participating in the battle group in Latvia, where the Polish and Albanian troops are practicing. Cooperation between our armies, the Canadians and others, contributes to increasing security on NATO's Eastern Flank.

- I am convinced that NATO Centre of Excellence on Foreign Fighters in Albania in which Poland will participate will contribute to the increase of the security ,  and for this initiative we are very grateful, as well as for your participation in the Counter Intelligence Centre of Excellence (NATO CI COE) located in Krakow. Such cooperation is a perfect example of defending the security and peace of Europe together. Poland is fully aware of the crucial role Albania plays in stabilizing the Balkans and suppression of the terrorism - said Minister Macierewicz in Tirana.

Minister Xhacka thanked Poland for supporting Kosovo's independence. As she said, the presence of Polish military forces contributes to the stability of the entire region. I share the same opinion with Minister Macierewicz about the current threats in the region, that this region has become more and more unpredictable and it is exposed to many challenges, especially from the eastern flank, but also on the Southern Fank of our Alliance. I assured Minister Macierewicz that the Albanian Armed Forces will continue to be responsible, credible and will contribute to the stability of the Alliance.

- The visit of Minister Macierewicz gives fresh impetus  to the intensity of cooperation between our Ministries and our Armed Forces. Our staff will continue to be in a permanent contact to materialize the areas of cooperation through concrete plans.  Cooperation is an alternative that guarantees success and success of cooperation among the allies is a guarantee for safer world.

On Tuesday afternoon in Sarajevo Minister Antoni Macierewicz held a meeting with the Minister of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina Marina Pendeš.

It was an real honor for me to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina and to be able to have a profound and meaningful conversation with the Minister of Defence.

-          We are very impressed with the work that the Minister and Bosnia and Herzegovina have done over the last few years to work out the principles of coexistence and to bring peace and tranquility to such an important place in the Balkans and for all Europe. We know how important for the state is to get a Roadmap for integration with the EU and NATO. We understand these aspirations and of course we support them. (…)  We also talked about cooperation in the defence industry and possible actions on Polish part for the modernization of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Armed Forces. Poland is aware of the natural limitations and limited funds which Bosnia and Herzegovina disposes, but Polish industry is ready to cooperate, so that the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Armed Forces will be strong and efficient, capable to fulfill  the tasks that it receives. (...)
I would like to thank you for giving the Polish Military Contingent welcome, which is here on a peace mission within the European Union. For these evidences of support and cooperation also coming out from the local population towards Polish soldiers, thank
you very much. Cooperation between the contingent and the people is the foundation of the success of the mission - said Minister Antoni Macierewicz after the meeting.

Minister Marina Pendeš thanked the Minister Macierewicz for Poland's support for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and expressed her conviction that Poland would continue supporting the aspirations of the country. As she stressed, in recent years bilateral cooperation has been limited, but there is a chance that a memorandum of cooperation between the defence ministries of both countries will be signed in 2018.

On Tuesday Minister of National Defense also visited soldiers who are serving in the Polish Military Contingent EUFOR / MTT in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Head of the Ministry of National Defence of Poland met with the leadership of the EU mission. During the meetings Minister Antoni Macierewicz was  accompanied by the Operational Commander of the Armed Forces Services Major General Sławomir Wojciechowski.

- I talked with the Commander of the mission about the conditions in which all of you have to serve.  It is extremely sacrificial, dangerous and exhausting mission. This conversation told me more than all reports and lectures. You have to be here to be aware of the extraordinary complexity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. You have to be here to understand how great danger is threatening the whole Balkans, whole Europe, if your mission would fail, if your service and effort would waste. That is why we look at you with admiration. We are conscious that you hold in your hands the fate not only of the Balkans, but really the fate of the whole Europe. We are aware of the need of the presence of European Union soldiers and Polish Military Contingent. We are proud how you fulfill this mission - said Minister Macierewicz at the meeting with Polish soldiers.

Meeting with soldiers was also an opportunity to decorate them with awards and distinctions. The Minister thanked the commanders and soldiers for their service, stressing importance of shaping security not only in the region but also in Europe. - There are no words to thank for your service and your sacrifice. Not only the Armed Forces, not just the Ministry of National Defence, not just commanding structures, but all Poles are aware of the dangers that you are facing every day and the importance of your mission that you are implementing. These awards I had the honor to give, are just a modest expression of respect and thanks for what you are doing here.

- After a deep analysis, after I looked at the situation (...) it is obvious that this mission must be continued. Withdrawing from it would be a waste of all the long-term effort. And that means you still have to serve here. We will continue this mission because Europe, Poland and the Balkans must be safe. And you are in the eye of the storm, which fortunately has not yet begun, because you are here. I want to thank you very much once again-  said Minister Macierewicz.

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