26 April 2012 - SOUTH-EAST EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARIANS PLEDGE CLOSER COOPERATION ON SMART DEFENCE
At the conclusion of a two day regional conference on Smart Defence cooperation in South Eastern Europe, parliamentary delegations from 10 NATO member and partner countries adopted a declaration calling for closer regional defence cooperation in the framework of NATO's Smart Defence initiative.
In their joint declaration, parliamentarians from South Eastern Europe “stressed the will to work together to preserve our prosperity and our security by prioritizing, specializing and then seeking a regional solution as the most effective way the region can emerge stronger from these times of economic difficulty and austerity measures.” They called for “the adoption of an advanced vision beyond the traditional approach, the articulation of a new mentality opening a new window on a regional Smart Defense practical cooperation”.
Delegates agreed to consider further regional cooperation on a broad range of capabilities, including:
- joint regional capabilities for NATO/EU-led operations, especially in those related to advice, mentoring, training, stabilization and reconstruction teams, and other specialized “niche” capabilities;
Parliamentarians recommended that governments of the region “build a menu/basket of capabilities that they think could be made available for other regional countries”. They also called for elements of the Smart Defence approach to be incorporated into the National Security Strategies, Military Strategies, and the defence planning processes of regional countries.
This regional conference of parliamentarians from South Eastern Europe was hosted by the Albanian Parliament in cooperation with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Keynote speakers included Sali Berisha, Prime Minister of Albania, JozefinaTopalli, Speaker of the Albanian Parliament, NATO PA President Dr Karl A. Lamers and NATO PA Secretary General David Hobbs (see separate press releases), Edmond Haxhinasto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Arben Imami, Minister of Defence, Bujar Nishani, Minister of Interior, General Xhemal Gjunkshi, Chief of the Defence Staff, as well as Holger Bahle from NATO. The conference aimed at exploring areas for Smart Defence cooperation in South-Eastern Europe, and developing concrete proposals in the run-up to NATO's Chicago Summit.