James. G. Foggo, Ante Kotromanović, Predrag Stipanović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Mario STRMOTIĆ/ ik

Croatian Defence Minister Ante Kotromanovic and navy commander, Commodore Predrag Stipanovic, who met with the commander of the US 6th fleet Vice Admiral James Foggo in the navy headquarters in Split on Friday, assessed that cooperation between the two navies in maintaining security on the Adriatic and Mediterranean was excellent.

Vice Admiral Foggo, who arrived in Split for a two-day visit to Croatia aboard the USS Porter currently berthed in Split's naval port of Lora, said that cooperation between the US Navy and Croatia's Navy (HRM) was excellent.

Joint cooperation is very important for security in the Adriatic and the Mediterranean Sea, Foggo told reporters. He underscored that he could commend the HRM and was grateful for the hospitality shown. He added that he had visited Croatia twice now, last time during the overhauling of a US vessel in the Rijeka shipyard.

Minister Kotromanovic too assessed that cooperation between the two NATO partners was good. "Today we spoke about cooperation between our navies and about joint exercises that we will conduct here (Adriatic) in the future and on the Mediterranean," Kotromanovic said.

Kotromanovic announced a visit to Split by a US aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S Truman, set for December.

"That way we wish to send a message that Croatia is a member of NATO and that we are partners in this part of Europe and that we have and are developing excellent cooperation with the US Army, sea and land units," Kotromanovic said. He added that Croatia was always grateful for the assistance it received from the USA.

Replying to reporters, whether Foggo expressed some expectations of Croatia's navy concerning its modernisation, Kotromanovic said that Viceadmiral Foggo was quite satisfied with the state of Croatia's navy and that he had informed him of long-term development plans.

We are constructing five vessels for the coastguard and two vessels to control the high seas which will be important when Croatia joins the Schengen Area. By the end of 2016 we will purchase two minesweepers to clear the Adriatic of mines left over from both World Wars, he said.

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