Thursday, 13 February 2020

Croatian Troops to Continue Participating in Iraq Mission

ZAGREB, February 13, 2020 - NATO defence ministers, including Croatia's Damir Krstičević, in Brussels on Thursday reaffirmed their support for Iraq and strengthening NATO's mission to train Iraqi forces, in which Croatia will continue to take part.

Krstičević said that Croatia has seven soldiers in the mission, two of whom have already returned home while the remaining five will gradually return to Iraq from Kuwait.

After the conflict in Iraq escalated at the start of the year, following America's attack and the death of the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Qasem Soleimani, Croatia withdrew its troops to Kuwait.

"It was agreed that everything will return to the starting position as of 4 January which means that NATO's mission in Iraq will continue. A document arrived last night from the Iraqi government which supports and guarantees the safety of NATO personnel, hence a decision has been made for soldiers to gradually return," said Krstičević.

At the two-day meeting in Brussels, which ended on Thursday, the NATO defence ministers addressed key issues, including the alliance’s training mission in Iraq and the fight against international terrorism.

Croatia is currently participating with 438 troops in seven NATO peace missions and two Enhanced Forward Presence missions.

Krstičević underscored EU-NATO cooperation and announced a conference to be held in Split, Croatia on 9 June aimed at strengthening that cooperation, adding that senior officials from the EU and USA would be participating in the conference.

The ministers also discussed the Exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20, the largest European-US military exercise in the past 25 years. The exercise will involve the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe, with 37,000 troops expected to participate.

"American soldiers will leave from four European ports and be distributed to six countries to test the mobility of equipment and troops...Croatia will participate with its troops stationed in Poland and Lithuania," said Krstičević.

Krstičević held bilateral meetings with his Polish and Lithuanian counterparts, Mariusz Blaszczak and Raimundas Karoblis respectively. Krstičević said that he was pleased Minister Blaszczak confirmed that he would attend the first international CROIMAS air show that will be held in Zadar on 30 May, marking the 30th anniversary of Croatia's statehood.

So far, we have received confirmation from the French, Italians, Austrians, Swiss and Poles that they will be attending, he added.

More news about Croatian army can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Seven Croatian Soldiers Return from Iraq

ZAGREB, January 9, 2020 - Seven soldiers of the Croatian Army who had been relocated from Iraq to Kuwait returned to Croatia on Thursday morning, the Croatian Defence Ministry said.

The seven members of the second Croatian contingent were engaged in the NATO mission in Iraq and were transferred from Baghdad to Kuwait in line with a decision by NATO to relocate its mission from Iraq to Kuwait.

A total of fourteen members of the Croatian Army have been relocated to Kuwait, with seven of them completing their tour of duty.

The Croatian soldiers were relocated from Iraq, together with soldiers from several NATO member states, following Iranian attacks on American forces in Iraq in retaliation for a US drone attack and the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

During a government session on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković confirmed the successful evacuation of the Croatian troops out of Iraq.

More news about Croatian Army can be found in the Politics section

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Croatia Calls for Calming Situation in Iraq and Middle East

ZAGREB, January 4, 2020 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Ministry on Friday called for defusing the situation in Iraq and the Middle East following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in Iraq, which has prompted Iran to threaten reciprocal actions.

"The Republic of Croatia is closely following with deep concern the developments in Iraq and in the entire Middle East," the ministry says in a press release.

We call for calming the situation and urge restraint from the use of force and we also advocate the investment of additional efforts in seeking a diplomatic solution in the interest of all sides and the preservation of global peace, the Croatian ministry says.

The ministry is also in permanent contact with the Croatian embassy in Baghdad and says that the embassy staff and Croatian nationals in that country are safe and well.

The international community is concerned over the escalation of the situation in the region following U.S airstrikes in which General Soleimani was killed on Friday morning.

Iranian officials are quoted by international media as saying that this is an act of war to be met by "harsh retaliation".

More news about Croatia and the Middle East can be found in the Politics section.