South East European defense ministers stress RCC’s importance in regional cooperation

In a Joint Statement adopted in Budva today, Ministers of Defense of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) stressed the importance of defense and security cooperation in fostering general stability and development in the region.

The Ministers underlined that in a rapidly changing security environment, where new challenges arise – from current economic crisis to natural disaster or new sources of threats – countries of the region need to work on furthering the concept of cooperative security.

The ministerial Joint Statement reflected the importance of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) in enhancing regional cooperation and supporting stability, democracy and development in South East Europe.

The ministers encouraged further cooperation between the RCC and the Center for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC), the Southeast Europe Defense Ministerial (SEEDM) and the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative (DPPI) in the area of security cooperation.

“Security dimension of a current state of play in our part of Europe needs to be carefully considered, as the disparity between the European and Euro-Atlantic advancement of our region and the landscape of still unfinished peace clearly represents a security challenge”, said RCC Secretary General, Hido Biscevic, in his address to the meeting.

He pointed to a necessity to overcome and resolve remaining open issues in the region in order to avoid a slow-down of European and Euro-Atlantic integrations and creation of an unwanted strategic vacuum in this part of Europe, particularly serious in light of current developments on the southern rim of the Mediterranean. 

“This makes security cooperation in the region so strategically important. On its end, the RCC Secretariat’s Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013 sets concrete goals and activities developed in close coordination with NATO and the EU, and endorsed by the SEECP Summit in Istanbul last year, as an effective mean to streamline and seek synergy in defense cooperation.”

The ministerial meeting was dedicated to identifying opportunities for regional cooperation in the field of security. Participants shared best practices on defense issues, and exchanged views on possible new areas of future cooperation, including joint defense industry projects, education, joint exercises, etc.

The event gathered ministers of defense from the SEECP participating States, as well as representatives of relevant organizations active in defense cooperation in the region, including NATO.

Address by RCC Secretary General Biscevic is available HERE.