One of the Czech Republic's most respected military representatives,
the chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Petr Pavel was
presented the Legion of Merit last week by the U.S. Marine Corps General
Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The official
ceremony took place in Virginia on March 8; the Legion of Merit is the
highest award American leaders can bestow on foreigners. More than 250
service members participated in the ceremony.
The story was reported by the Czech News Agency on Sunday.
General Petr Pavel has served as chairman of the Military Committee since June 2015, a period when NATO has reemphasized deterrence in the face of the growing Russian threat, such as Russia's intervention in Ukraine.
Pavel will relinquish the job of chairman to British Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the chief of staff of the British Armed Forces, on June 29 of this year.
The chief of NATO's Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, has told
the Russian news agency TASS he is “cautiously optimistic” with regard
to the possibility of improving relations between NATO and Russia.
Asked whether he believes that NATO and Russia can overcome the present period of tense relations and leave behind them the legacy of the Cold War, General Pavel said such a chance existed, but it needed developing a more intense dialogue on specific issues. He said the present agenda during bilateral contacts was vague and a fresh impetus was needed to move the relationship forward.
Relations between NATO and Russia soured after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 when NATO broke off military cooperation with Russia.
Twenty-three EU member states, including the Czech Republic, have signed up to a European pact on defence cooperation called Pesco (Permanent Structured Cooperation). The deal, to be formally launched in December, is likely to cover everything from troops and arms to new defence projects, with varying input from different countries.
Top Czech NATO official Petr Pavel has signalled moves by the western military alliance to renew some ties with Russia, Pavel, the chairman of the alliance’s Military Committee, said, according to a TASS report, that its top representatives should meet with members of the Russian general staff by the end of the year. The moves are an attempt renew military and political relations, he added. NATO relations with Russia were frozen following the annexation of Crimea and conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Around 90,000 people attended a NATO military show in north Moravia over
two days at the weekend, organisers said. The NATO Days event took place at
the Mošnov airfield near Ostrava.
Almost all of the planned flyovers had to be cancelled due to bad weather on Sunday, which saw attendance of 25,000 compared to over 65,000 on the opening day.
Minister of Defence Martin Stropnický is due to meet with the minister of finance Ivan Pilný on Thursday to discuss the defence budget for 2018. Stropnický has warned that the planned allocation for 2018 risks government pledges to boost spending to meet NATO commitments. He has warned that defence spending could be just 1.16 percent of Gross Domestic Product by 2020. This would undershoot the target of 1.4 percent by 2020 and the goal of meeting the NATO target of 2.0 percent by 2024.
The Czech lower house of parliament has approved an army mission of up to 290 as part of an international NATO group in the Baltics. The mission in Latvia and Lithuania should last throughout 2018 and into January 2019. 119 out of the 165 members of parliament voted in favour. The mission still has to be approved by the upper house, the Senate. The Czech foreign minister described the mission as a significant Czech contribution to NATO.
Around 500 soldiers from six NATO countries are taking part in exercises in the Czech Republic mainly aimed at testing ground to air defense capabilities. The Tobruq 2017 exercises will continue until July 23. The main target is to test interoperability of systems and command and communications efficiency during the exercises. Parallel exercises are taking place in Latvia and Romania.
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