NATO to Use Luka Koper Port in October

By , 10 Sep 2018, 12:40 PM News
NATO to Use Luka Koper Port in October Montage: JL Flanner

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STA - Following media reports that the Koper port could become a major NATO logistic hub, which Slovenian officials denied yesterday, the STA learned from a source at NATO that the port would only be used during a NATO exercise in October. 

In early October, NATO will conduct a major exercise in which Slovenia will participate with vehicles and personnel, a NATO officer told the STA.

The Slovenian personnel participating in Ex Trident Juncture 18 will deploy from Slovenia from several locations, including the port of Luka Koper, to Norway, the officer said.

The Slovenian contribution will consist of vehicles and personnel who will conduct their move to the exercise location and carry out Reception Staging and Onward Movement procedures, he explained.

The US Embassy told the STA that talks with the Slovenian Defence Ministry on the access to the Koper port were ongoing. In cooperation with allies and partners, the US army uses numerous commercial ports in Europe to move its capabilities, it added.

"This allows us and our allies to maintain and enhance our levels of readiness, provide operational flexibility, develop relationships and capabilities while increasing our interoperability," the statement reads.

According to the embassy, the US forces in Europe are continually assessing capabilities and planning future exercises with allies and partners. "We cannot comment on internal timelines in relation to exercise planning and exercise execution for security reasons."

Public broadcaster RTV Slovenija reported on Wednesday that the Koper port could become a major NATO logistic hub for transport of military equipment as part of NATO force rotations in Europe.

This was denied yesterday by outgoing foreign and defence ministers, Karl Erjavec and Andreja Katič, as well as Slovenia's Ambassador to NATO Jelko Kacin. Erjavec said though that talks on a potential commercial deal were under way between the port operator and US officials.

According to the NATO source, Luka Koper will be one of the many European ports to be included in the exercise along with railways and airlines.

The Ex Trident Juncture 18 exercise is NATO's largest collective defence exercise in recent years. Its aim is to demonstrate NATO's resolve and unity to defend its borders.

Over 35,000 personnel will take part from over 28 allies and 6 partner nations and will involve exercising all capabilities, according to the NATO officer.

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