IDF’s Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir met with NATO military leadership and other NATO officials in Brussels.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir has returned to Israel after he participated in the NATO Chiefs of Defense Conference this week in Brussels.
During the conference, Zamir held meetings with the heads of regional and NATO militaries to discuss existing cooperation programs and strategic issues, the IDF said.
Zamir also met with NATO military leadership and other NATO officials.
The Israeli delegation headed by Zamir included the head of the IDF International Cooperation Unit, Brig.-Gen. Erez David Maisel, and the Israeli defense attaché to Brussels, who is also responsible for NATO, Col. Nir Omer.
According to a statement released by NATO, the discussions focused on the key strategic issues facing the alliance and NATO’s new military strategy, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)’s area of responsibility and the development of the alliance’s deterrence and defense posture.
The participants signed a new military strategy, which “marks an important step in adapting the alliance for the increasingly complex security challenges that NATO faces,” the statement said.
“The strategy will guide allied military decision-making and provide NATO’s military authorities with a definitive policy reference, enabling us to deliver our core mission – defending almost 1 billion people,” said chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach. Peach added that “we cannot predict the future, but this strategy and the strategic thinking that goes with it provided by you gives a level of guidance to what we could do depending on the circumstances presented to us.”
At the meeting, Peach also welcomed US Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, who on May 5 assumed the dual roles of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and head of US European Command (EUCOM).
A former pilot who served in Afghanistan and in Iraq, Wolters will oversee NATO’s biggest reinforcement of its collective defenses in Eastern Europe since the Cold War due to tensions with Russia.
As SACEUR, Wolters is responsible for all NATO military operations. EUCOM’s area of responsibility includes 54 million sq.km. across Europe, as well as Russia and Israel.
The meeting also saw senior officers from NATO armies attend as well as representatives from NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, including Egypt and Jordan.
Israel’s relationship with NATO is defined as a “partnership,” and the country has been a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue since it was initiated in 1994, along with six other non-NATO Mediterranean countries: Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
“Israel is an active partner in NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue,” the IDF said. “As part of this, the IDF and NATO share a bilateral cooperation program, including maritime exercises and shared learning engagements.”
The discussions by the partners in the Mediterranean Dialogue focused on capacity building in the Middle East and North Africa region, increased interoperability and marking 25 years of the Dialogue.
“We have created a culture of cooperation, increasing interoperability, mutual understanding, and importantly contributing to national defense reforms,” Peach said, adding that “We, the chiefs of defense, will offer advice and guidance on current and planned activities to enhance security and stability and recommend new activities.”
The meeting came ahead of the Meeting of Defense Ministers, which is set to take place in June.