Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic opened a conference of the NATO Military Committee in the southern coastal city of Split on Saturday.
"I thank you all and all your servicemen and women for their commitment to the alliance and for their participation in many peace missions in the world," Grabar-Kitarovic, who also serves as Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces, said in her opening remarks at the Le Meridien Lav hotel.
This is a regular Military Committee conference in the Chiefs of Defence format and the first such meeting after the NATO summit in Warsaw, Croatia's Chief of the General Staff, General Mirko Sundov, said at the conference, which was also attended by Defence Minister Josip Buljevic.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that the conference would continue discussions on the basis of the NATO summits in Warsaw and Wales at which the allies had shown impressive unity, adding that their task now was to take a further step in confronting the numerous challenges facing the alliance, such as instability in the world around it.
"The answer as to how to cope with those challenges fits in one word, which is also the fundamental principle and value of the NATO alliance, and that is solidarity," Grabar-Kitarovic concluded.
General Petr Pavel, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, thanked Croatia for its hospitality and for its active role in the alliance, saying that through its continued participation in NATO operations it showed commitment to the alliance's principles.
Speaking of the topics of the conference, Pavel said that it would focus on possible improvements of NATO's command and force structure, and on alliance operations, with emphasis on Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan.
The main role of the NATO Military Committee is to provide guidance and advice on defence policy and strategy. It is also responsible for the implementation of decisions relating to NATO-led operations and missions.