Thursday, 1 April 2021

Defence Minister Mario Banožić: Croatia is NATO's Trustworthy and Reliable Partner

ZAGREB, 1 April, 2021 - On the occasion of the 12th anniversary of Croatia's admission to NATO, Defence Minister Mario Banožić stated on Thursday that his country proved to be a trustworthy and reliable ally and partner.

"Over these 12 years since it became a full member of NATO, Croatia has proven to be a trustworthy and reliable ally and partner," the minister said in his message on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of Croatia's entry into the alliance.

Croatia participates actively and on an equal footing in the alliance's decision-making and its troops, together with troops from other member states, contribute to peace-building efforts worldwide, the minister said.

He recalled that membership of NATO was one of the two most important objectives in Croatia's foreign policy.

 "Croatia has thus become part of the strongest military and political alliance in the history of humankind. Therefore, Croatia's security and stability is guaranteed not only by its own army but also by the armed forces of friendly countries from the NATO alliance," Banožić said recalling that the journey to the full membership had been difficult and demanding after Croatia had won the war which had been imposed on it and after it had to develop its own armed forces.

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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Government endorses defence and security university bill

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - The government on Thursday endorsed a bill on the establishment of a defence and security university which will be sent to parliament, with Defence Minister Mario Banožić saying the university would produce leaders for the Croatian army and other components of the homeland security system.

"In the year when the Croatian army is marking its 30th anniversary, a legislative framework is being created to transform the Croatian Military Academy into the University of Defence and Security, which is of special state interest," Banožić said, according to a ministry press release.

The university will facilitate the development of a teaching staff for military, defense, security and intelligence sciences and skills, and it will also be able to apply for EU funding, Banožić said, adding that the university would also develop and conduct scientific research in support of military, defense, security and intelligence activities.

"Working together, we will create an organisation which will be ready to produce leaders for the Croatian army and other components of the homeland security system," said the minister.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Minister Says More Than 1,000 Soldiers Have Participated in Quake Relief Efforts

ZAGREB, 4 January, 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banozic said on Monday that more than 1,000 soldiers had participated so far in efforts to alleviate the consequences of the December 29 earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a government session, Banozic said that the Croatian Army had secured accommodation for 380 civilians in the Petrinja barracks and that it was caring on a daily basis for 400 people who came occasionally to the barracks to sleep there.

Banozic noted that the army had helped keep local roads clear, removing rubble and making it possible for other services to enter towns and settlements in Sisak-Moslavina County.

It has also helped search the ground for people trapped in their collapsed houses and in their evacuation, as well as in the distribution of food and residential containers, he said.

The minister said the army would prepare aerial photos of the area to help other institutions make an application showing the exact extent of the damage caused by the earthquakes so as to prepare for reconstruction.

Asked to comment on the hierarchy of responsibility, Banozic said the army would make itself available to the coordinating team, to be set up by the government.

Asked why the government had waited for seven days to form the team, Banozic said that one had not waited and that work had been underway from the first day.

Asked if the establishment of the coordinating team meant that things on the ground did not go as they should have, he said that what was required to stabilise the system had functioned and that now preparations would be launched to enable the start of reconstruction as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Banozic: Offers For The Fighter Jets Being Received Today

ZAGREB, Sept 9, 2020 - The Defence Ministry is receiving offers for the fighter jets from 9 am to 11.30 am today, which will be followed by a three-month evaluation period before a final proposal is addressed to the government, Defence Minister Mario Banozic told the press outside the government offices on Wednesday.

Asked whether the public would be informed of the details of the offers, he replied in the negative, adding that the offers would go through a three-month process of evaluation based on which a proposal would be made for the government.

A final decision on the best offer will be ready for the government by the end of the year, Banozic said.

He said that initial offers for the fighter jets had been requested from the United States for new F-16 aircraft and from Sweden for Gripen aircraft. Offers were also requested for used European-made aircraft, including Italy's Eurofighter and France's Rafale, as well as for used F-16s from Norway, Greece, and Israel.

Banozic said it was difficult for him to say how much the aircraft would cost because that depended on the offers. He confirmed that Croatia was buying 12 aircraft.

Asked to comment on the decision by the President's Office not to take part in the work of the interdepartmental commission on the purchase of the aircraft, the minister said: "The president and I have regular briefings, I had one yesterday, we work together. He himself said that this decision rests with the government, but I think that this is important for all of us, for our security, and it must be a single decision."

The President's Office has said that it will not have a representative on the commission, but the president will take part in a political decision on the purchase of military aircraft in accordance with his constitutional powers.

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) said in a statement that representatives of FMV and the Swedish Embassy in Croatia had submitted an offer this morning, which includes new Gripen C/D aircraft and a package of logistical support and training for Croatian Air Force pilots and technicians.

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