The meeting of the NATO Military Committee in the High Tatra mountains is important in terms of drawing up the 2020 strategy, Prime Minister Iveta Radičová told the media after delivering a speech to the foreign guests.
“The work on this new strategy is coming to a close,” Radičová has said as quoted by TASR newswire. “This is the last chance we have to influence its form in such a way that it will also suit national strategies. I welcome the fact that of all places the meeting has been convened in Slovakia.”
Radičová said that the strategy is being drawn up with an eye to three issues: administrative changes within NATO, the change to the whole NATO agenda and the role of the organisation in the future. She also stressed the shift of NATO's role so that it not only carries out military operations but also provides humanitarian aid, maintains peace in various countries and provides aid to places struck by natural disasters. The prime minister pointed out that Slovakia has 676 soldiers deployed on missions, Radičová said.
“That's more than 5 percent of our professional army,” said Radičová. “I've met with nothing but appreciation for our professional soldiers assigned to foreign missions.”
As for cuts in defence budgets, Radičová said that under the burden of the global crisis, all countries are reconsidering their expenditures.
“NATO is aware of this, preparing its new structure while taking these restrictions in financing into account,” Radičová said. “This is far from being an issue only with Slovakia.”
Headed by Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Giampaolo di Paola, the chiefs-of-staff of 28 member countries are planning to discuss issues surrounding the Alliance's transformation, the future of operations conducted under its command and other major topics.
More than 450 major foreign visitors have converged on Vysoké Tatry. The conference requires the observance of stringent security measures. There will be no restrictions on traffic, however. The NATO military committee holds an away session once a year in one of the Alliance's member countries. The last such session was in Portugal, while Spain will take over from Slovakia in 2011, TASR wrote.
19. Sep 2010 at 18:00