The Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Mirko Sundov, said in Split on Saturday that the NATO Military Committee conference which was taking place in this city was an important event for both Croatia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and would contribute to stability.
"This is an important event for us and for NATO and I am certain that the result of this conference will contribute to stability and security," General Sundov told the press before the working part of the conference.
The NATO Military Committee is the alliance's highest military authority comprising the chiefs of defence of the member states, and it is the first time that a NATO conference at this level is being held in Croatia.
This is NATO's first meeting after its summit in Warsaw and it will focus on the implementation of tasks defined at that summit, namely how to respond to issues and challenges relating to what is going on on the alliance's eastern borders and to developments in the south, Sundov said.
Asked to comment on "a sensitive situation in the world and in this region" and on "difficulties regarding refugees", Sundov said: "All these are challenges and threats faced by each country individually and the alliance as a whole. I believe it is very important that Croatia is a NATO member because it makes our position stronger and provides a guarantee of security for our citizens."
He recalled that at the Warsaw summit Croatia had undertaken to deploy a company-strength unit to Lithuania as part of NATO activities in the Baltic countries. "We will prepare and participate in a group of countries led by Germany, which is our commitment," he added.
Asked if Croatia would take part in a recently announced NATO operation, dubbed the Sea Guardian, which is aimed at intercepting people smugglers in the Mediterranean, Sundov said that the Croatian Navy had the necessary capabilities for that operation. "The Croatian Navy is ready, and just as it took part in Operation Triton, I believe we will join this operation in accordance with our capabilities," he said, noting that that would require approval from the Croatian parliament.