International Conference ‘NATO - Achievements and New Tasks' gathered more than 150 participants
NATO is going through a phase in which it needs to reposition itself, and therefore the role of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), that gathers all Atlantic Councils, becomes very important in informing citizens and youth and educating them about NATO's role, Prof. Radovan Vukadinovic PhD, President of the Atlantic Council of Croatia stated when opening the international conference 'NATO – Achievements and New Tasks'. It was an event to mark six years of Croatia in NATO and 15th anniversary of the Atlantic Council of Croatia in the premises of the Military Academy in Zagreb, Croatian Ministry of Defence.
The participants were greeted by Deputy Defence Minister Visnja Tafra, who stated that Croatia has joined NATO to strengthen its own security, but also to contribute to the security and stability in the world. Tafra reiterated that Croatia is promoter of NATO’s enlargement policy, and it will state that at the next NATO Summit in Warszaw.
General Drago Lovrić, Chief of Staff, reminded the participants about the time when the Atlantic Council of Croatia was founded, which happened several days after Croatia joined Partnership for Peace in 2000, and when it started to modernize its armed forces according to NATO standards, to be ready for participating peace operations.
President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarović was announced as one of the founder and first members of the Atlantic Council of Croatia, and she stated that transatlantism is one of her fundamental beliefs. Grabar Kitarović reminded that no country in the world should take security for granted. ‘NATO is going through challenges, but the Article 5 of Washington Treaty still remains the backbone of relations among NATO member countries’, Grabar Kitarović stressed. Grabar Kitarović expressed the positive attitude towards NATO Open Door Policy and thinks the relations with neighboring countries should be .satisfactory
Second panel discussion was opened by the newly elected President of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) Prof. Fabrizio Luciolli, who reminded on the problem with Russia enlarging its budget for defence, which, as per some estimates, in 2016 will be larger that French and British together. Luciolli stressed the importance of ATA and its activities in forming the educational programme on translatlantic associations in Brussels.
Talking about gender equality, Brigadier Gordana Garašić, reminded that this year we note 15 years of UN Security Council accepting the Resolution 1325 on women in peace and security. ‘Summit in Wales has confirmed the implementation of the Resolution’, Garašić stated, adding that gender equality is the matter of human rights issues.
Brigadier General Ivan Jurić confirmed that Croatia is participating peace operations that are ran by NATO, but also EU and UN, and currently 146 members of Croatian Armed Forces are in missions around the world.
The conference has ended with the panel of young members of Atlantic councils (YATA) in the region: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia. All YATA members have confirmed that NATO Alliance is a basis of the euroatlantic integration, and guarantees peace and security in the world.
Photo by: Office of the President of Croatia / Tomislav Bušljeta