The Balkans is still a potential source of conflict, the chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, said on Saturday, adding that NATO needs to have the capabilities "to deter and defend against any threat".

"The alliance needs to have the right capabilities, forces and resources to deter and defend against any threat and counter all contingencies," General Pavel said at a press conference after a day-long conference of the NATO Military Committee in the southern Croatian coastal city of Split.

Presenting the conclusions of the conference, he said that the meeting was a chance to bring together the chiefs of defence of allied countries, the two strategic commanders and the invited country, Montenegro, "to deliberate on the implementation of the decisions made by heads of state and government in the NATO summit in Warsaw this July."

General Pavel said that NATO had achieved a lot in adapting to new circumstances, but noted that continued adaptation was necessary. He stressed that NATO should have a greater role in combating terrorism.

He warned of dangers in the Balkans, saying that the situation in that part of Europe was still far from stable.

"The situation in the Balkans in general ... is far from being absolutely stable. We are all aware ... that the Western Balkans is still a potential source of tensions and that we have to pay great attention to the situation there," Pavel said, adding that the Balkans "might be the next frontier" not only for Islamic terrorism but for Russian influence as well.

He noted that protection against "Islamic extremism" was a concern for the whole of Europe.

If Bosnia becomes a safe haven for extremists, that will also be a problem for Europe, and North America will also be concerned. It is in our interest that Bosnia remains safe and that it does not become such a safe haven, and if necessary, NATO will take action in that regard, Pavel said.

Asked about possible movements of refugees this autumn, Pavel said he did not expect large waves of refugees like last year.

"There is no imminent threat of a huge wave of migrants coming from the Middle East or North Africa. ... I do not expect any major wave coming through the Balkan route, and if it happens, (it will be) the responsibility of the European Union rather than NATO" because such problems cannot be dealt with by tanks, Pavel said.

In conclusion, General Pavel thanked Croatian General Sundov for hosting the event and Croatia for its contribution to common security. He also thanked all Croatian servicemen and women for their commitment to the alliance and for their participation in NATO-led peacekeeping operations and missions worldwide.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.