IDF chief in Brussels on last trip overseas

Ashkenazi commends NATO on "achievements against terrorism"; warns against spread of unconventional weapons.

ashkenazi IDF dinner 311 (photo credit: IDF)
ashkenazi IDF dinner 311
(photo credit: IDF)
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi addressed a group of NATO military chiefs on Wednesday and warned of the proliferation of nonconventional weapons and ballistic missiles throughout the Middle East.
“Cooperation with NATO will continue to be of extreme importance for Israel, particularly in the face of countries that are trying to obtain nuclear and nonconventional weapons,” Ashkenazi said. “NATO’s decision to develop a missile defense system demonstrates the worrisome reality that radical countries and maybe even terrorist groups are a clear and present danger, not just to the Middle East but also to Europe.”
IDF chief begins round of farewells
Ashkenazi flew to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday for his last trip overseas as chief of General Staff. He is scheduled to be replaced by Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant on February 14. Ashkenazi stressed that the IDF and NATO faced similar challenges in their wars against terror in the Gaza Strip and Afghanistan.
“Extremist regimes and terrorist organizations have introduced high and lowquality weapons, while exploiting civilians on the current battlefield,” he said.
“NATO currently faces the very same challenges in Afghanistan, and its member countries encounter complex strategic, tactical and logistic issues in different arenas of war.”
Ashkenazi also noted his deep appreciation of NATO achievements, “under whose command over 40 countries operate united against these terrorist threats. If we wish to completely eradicate this phenomenon, we must stand strongly before it, overcome the legal, operational and intelligence obstacles... We must put to our advantage all possible means in order to avoid the dangerous spread of unconventional weapons.”
Ashkenazi held a series of meetings with his foreign counterparts including chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm.
Mike Mullen. He spoke to them about the developments in Lebanon and warned them about the consequences of a Hizbullah takeover there.