Saturday, 27 July 2019

Funeral Held for Croatian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

ZAGREB, July 27, 2019 - Croatian Army Lance Corporal Josip Briški, who was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan earlier this week, was buried with the highest military honours at Markovo Polje cemetery in Zagreb's eastern district of Sesvete on Saturday.

The funeral was attended by his family and friends, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Mirko Šundov and Army personnel, the Defence Ministry said in a press release. The funeral rite was led by Military Ordinary Jure Bogdan.

Briški, aged 27, was a member of the 10th Croatian contingent in NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. He died from serious injuries suffered in an attack by a Taliban suicide bomber on a military convoy in Kabul on Wednesday. Two other Croatian soldiers were wounded and are recovering in the US hospitals in Kabul and Bagram.

Briški is the first Croatian soldier killed in Afghanistan since Croatia deployed its troops there in 2003. About a hundred Croatians are among 20,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans, mentoring and training Afghan security forces as part of NATO's Resolute Support mission.

More news about the incident can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Commemoration Held for Croatian Sergeant Killed in Afghanistan

ZAGREB, July 26, 2019 - A commemoration was held at the Defence Ministry on Friday for Josip Briški, a Croatian sergeant killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, with a minute's silence and speeches by President and Armed Forces Supreme Commander Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, and Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff General Mirko Šundov.

The president said Briški "chose the toughest path. He dedicated his life to serving Croatia, ready to defend the homeland anywhere... Every day of his service confirmed loyalty to the homeland, his human kindness. In Afghanistan, he offered people a trace of hope in a better future. A perfidious attack stopped him."

Minister Krstičević extended condolences to Briški's family, adding that "such moments deeply affect the public too." He said Briški had walked "the path of peace and freedom" and thanked him for "living and working by the ideals for which defenders fought in the Homeland War."

General Šundov said news of Briški's death "deeply shook both the army and the entire Croatian nation," recalling that Croatia has been participating in peace missions for 16 years and that this was the first time it lost a soldier.

Briški's body arrived at Zagreb's airport aboard a NATO plane in the morning, where it was welcomed with the highest military and state honours. The plane left Bagram, Afghanistan during the night and was seen off by the commander of NATO's Resolute Support mission, General Austin Scott Miller.

Briški was a member of the 10th Croatian contingent in Resolute Support. He died on Wednesday from serious injuries sustained during a suicide attack on a Croatian army vehicle in Kabul.

More news about the incident can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Coffin with Croatian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Arrives in Zagreb

ZAGREB, July 26, 2019 - A coffin with the body of Josip Briški, the Croatian soldier killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, arrived at Zagreb's airport aboard a NATO plane on Friday morning, where it was welcomed with the highest military and state honours.

The US plane left Bagram, Afghanistan during the night and was seen off by the commander of NATO's Resolute Support mission, General Austin Scott Miller, whereby the highest honour was shown Briški, the Croatian Defence Ministry said.

Present at Zagreb's Franjo Tuđman Airport were Briški's family, President and Armed Forces Supreme Commander Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff General Mirko Šundov, other senior Defence Ministry and army officials, and representatives of the US, France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Albania.

Briški is expected to be buried on Saturday.

More news about the incident can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Body of Soldier Killed in Afghanistan to Arrive in Zagreb on Friday

ZAGREB, July 25, 2019 - At the start of Thursday's cabinet meeting in Čakovec, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević once again expressed his condolences to the family of corporal Josip Briški, who was killed in Afghanistan, and informed that his body was expected in Zagreb on Friday morning.

He added that he was in constant contact with commanders at all levels in Afghanistan and that they were monitoring the situation of the two other Croatian soldiers who were injured in a suicide bombing in Kabul on Wednesday.

"They are no longer in a critical condition and are recovering in the US hospitals in Kabul and Bagram. We have ensured that they receive the best possible medical attention. They underwent surgery yesterday and are recovering well, and I think that in 7 to 10 days they will be able to come to Croatia," he said.

Krstičević also said that a delegation headed by General Perica Turalija had gone to Afghanistan on Thursday morning to visit the two injured soldiers and to provide support to the other members of Croatia's contingent.

Asked how the safety of soldiers in missions could be improved, Krstičević said that these were difficult missions, that there cannot be any absolute security and the situation in Afghanistan is very complicated.

"We are doing all we can for our soldiers to be, above all, excellently equipped and trained, to be prepared, and that is my responsibility as minister and the responsibility of the Defence Ministry and the Croatian Army," said Krstičević.

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

Friday, 5 July 2019

Plenković Visits Croatian Troops in Poland

ZAGREB, July 4, 2019 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević on Thursday visited the 4th contingent of Croatian troops deployed as part of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Poland.

The participation of the Croatian troops in this mission is helping them increase their skills in exercises with troops from other participating countries, Plenković said during the visit to the Bermowo Piskie base, about 70 kilometres from the Russian and Lithuanian border.

The 79 Croatian troops, under the command of Major Predrag Srđenović, are attached to a battle group comprising US, British, Romanian and Polish troops.

"I am particularly glad to hear that the Croatian soldiers are cooperating well not only with their partners but that they are also well integrated and are maintaining good communication with Polish people in this part of the country," Plenković said.

Minister Krstičević said that Croatia and Poland are friends and strategic partners who have excellent cooperation in defence.

"With this operation, the Croatian soldiers are strengthening their capabilities and interoperability, which makes the Croatian army even better and stronger," Krstičević said.

Major Srđenović said that his men have a very positive experience in Poland. "We are recognised as reliable partners and professionals. Local Poles like us and we cooperate with other partners," he said.

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

Friday, 28 June 2019

Krstičević Meets with US Acting Secretary of Defence

ZAGREB, June 28, 2019 - Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević met with US Acting Secretary of Defence Mark Esper on the margins of a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels on Thursday, the Defence Ministry said.

The two officials reaffirmed the excellent cooperation between Croatia and the United States and discussed further cooperation in developing the defence capabilities and interoperability of the two countries' armed forces.

"The United States is Croatia's key strategic partner and ally in defence and security," Krstičević said.

Krstičević also met with Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak and Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis, reaffirming the excellent defence cooperation with the two countries, notably with regard to the participation of Croatian troops in NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission.

He also met with his Montenegrin counterpart Predrag Bošković, with whom he discussed bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

On Wednesday and Thursday, NATO's defence ministers discussed defence allocations, collective defence, the use of new technologies and the alliance's mission in Afghanistan.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a report that defence spending for 2019 by the European allies and Canada would be 3.9 percent higher than five years ago. He said that good progress had been made and that this should continue.

NATO insists that the member states allocate 2 percent of their GDP for defence. "Croatia is currently at 1.75 percent and we want to reach 2 percent," Krstičević said.

The ministers also discussed NATO's modernisation, including in deterrence and defence, and the alliance for the first time adopted a space policy.

Krstičević said that the meeting was taking place after NATO celebrated 70 years of its existence and Croatia marked 10 years since joining the world's most powerful military alliance.

He said that Croatia and other allies were investing in the development of new technologies and new capabilities. "This year Croatia is forming new commands - Cyber Command and Unmanned Aircraft Systems Command," he added.

More news about NATO can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

NATO Military Exercise Takes Place in Croatia

ZAGREB, May 30, 2019 - A military exercise was conducted on Wednesday at the Eugen Kvaternik compound in Slunj on the occasion of Distinguished Visitors Day within the Immediate Response 19 international military exercise, with the purpose of displaying combat abilities of artillery and anti-tank units and joint action.

On that occasion, Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević congratulated multi-national troops for excellent performance of manoeuvres and for demonstrating the power of togetherness, underscoring that he was impressed with their professionalism, dedicated work and adaptability.

"That's a guarantee of lasting security of the largest and most powerful alliance in the history of mankind and this exercise is the best possible celebration of the 10th anniversary of Croatia's membership to the NATO alliance," Krstičević said.

He thanked the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Lithuania and Kosovo "for recognising the importance of implementing this joint training exercise and Croatian troops for the abilities presented."

Assessing that today's world is full of challenges, Krstičević said that "no one is capable of facing the new security paradigm alone, hence it is especially important to build alliances and strengthen partnership with other countries and we showed that alliance with today's exercise," he said.

Chief-of-Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Mirko Šundov and U.S. lieutenant general Christopher Cavoli who commands United States Army Europe (USAREUR), were among the guests on Distinguished Visitors Day.

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

Friday, 17 May 2019

British Prince Edward Marks 10 Years of Croatia's NATO Membership

ZAGREB, May 17, 2019 - Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, arrived in Split on Thursday for a two-day visit aimed at bolstering Croatian-British relations.

Visits by members of the British royal family, including the 55-year-old Edward, are organised at the recommendation of the British Foreign Office to underline the importance of relations with the country being visited. Members of the royal family are considered to be ambassadors of the United Kingdom.

Edward, Elizabeth's third son and youngest child, is the protector and supporter of numerous institutions and charities, most of which support young people. He supports several art organisations and also represents and supports the British armed forces.

Upon landing at Split airport, the prince, the 11th in line for the British throne, headed for Diocletian's Palace, a symbol of ties between the UK and Croatia which the great Scottish architect Robert Adam visited in 1757, writing a book about it and finding an inspiration in its architecture for his neoclassic work. The original copy of which is stored in the Split City Museum.

Prince Edward visited the British HMS Duncan destroyer in Split's port on Thursday, where, joined by representatives of the Croatian armed forces, NATO ambassadors and Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, he marked the tenth anniversary of Croatia's NATO membership and NATO's 70th anniversary.

The HMS Duncan, tied in Split for several days, has a 280-strong crew, a displacement of 8,000 tons and can sail at 30 knots.

This year the UK will participate in NATO's Immediate Response exercise in Croatia, while at the end of the summer, the armies of the two countries will hold the sixth joint exercise Sava Star.

On Friday, Edward will visit the Mestrovic Gallery and the 1st Secondary School which has been collaborating with Aston College in Dover for 25 years. He will then open an office of the British ICE Marine Design company and meet with professor Miroslav Radman, who works on research projects with the University of Cambridge.

This is Prince Edward's first official visit to Croatia. Prince Charles visited several times, Princess Anne visited in 2009 and Queen Elizabeth II did so in 1972.

More news about relations between Croatia and Great Britain can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 1 April 2019

US Embassy: Croatia's NATO Membership Contributes to Regional Security

ZAGREB, April 1, 2019 - Croatia has emerged from its own difficult history in the 1990s to become a real contributor to regional stability and international security, the United States Embassy said in a statement on Monday marking the 10th anniversary since Croatia joined NATO.

Croatia joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on April 1, 2009 together with Albania and has become one of the greatest advocates of the alliance's eastward expansion.

"Since that time, Croatia has unwaveringly undertaken the commitments and obligations of membership on multiple fronts. Our soldiers have served shoulder to shoulder in places like Afghanistan, Poland and Kosovo," the US Embassy said.

It noted that Croatia’s contributions to international security are not limited to NATO, citing its recent significant troop contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.

"Croatia has emerged from its own difficult history in the 1990s to become a real contributor to regional stability and international security. Croatia’s commitment to the Alliance over the last ten years has significantly expanded peace and prosperity throughout the region, Europe and the world," the statement said.

"We will continue to partner together in NATO Missions such as Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltics and Resolute Support in Afghanistan and we commend the Croatian government for our excellent military cooperation. NATO is strong today because of common values Croatia, the United States and its other members share," the US Embassy said.

NATO celebrates its 70th birthday on Thursday, April 4, and the foreign ministers of the 29 member states will gather in Washington on that occasion.

More news about NATO can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Visits Varaždin

ZAGREB, March 31, 2019 - The President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Madeleine Moon, visited the northern Croatian town of Varaždin on Sunday on the occasion of the 10th anniversary since Croatia joined the alliance.

Moon and parliamentary delegations of NATO member states, who had met in Zagreb for a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Standing Committee on Friday and Saturday, were hosted by Varaždin County Prefect Radimir Čačić, who showed them the historical sights of the town and spoke of its past and present.

Moon said that Saturday was a working day for the delegation, when they discussed the alliance's activity and Croatian views which were presented by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, while Sunday was reserved for getting to know the member state.

She said it is important to visit towns like Varadžin and feel the cultural roots of member states to remind oneself what the alliance defends and why it safeguards peace, freedom and security for its member states.

Miroslav Tuđman, the head of the Croatian Parliament Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, said: "NATO is not just a military alliance but also a community of states that share the same values. Varaždin is a good example showing the continuity of Croatian statehood and cultural heritage. We can be proud to be able to show this aspect to the members of the Standing Committee so that they can see that we have a far longer tradition both in culture and in statehood than some other members."

Čačić presented Varaždin County as one of the most industrially developed regions in Croatia and one that absorbs the most funding from the European Union. He said that last year his county participated in NATO's IT-assisted military exercise programme.

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

Page 4 of 10