STA, 12 September 2019 - Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, started an official visit to Slovenia on Thursday, commending the country and its armed forces on their 15 years of contribution in support of the alliance's values and mission.
The British air chief marshal will chair a conference of the chiefs of defence from NATO member countries as part of the NATO Military Committee, held in Slovenia on Friday and Saturday.
Sir Stuart was formally received by the chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), Major General Alenka Ermenc, with a guard of honour, after which he delivered a lecture to senior SAF staff.
According to a press release from the Defence Ministry, he described NATO as a flexible organisation, one continuously adapting to modern security challenges in order to be able to jointly make decisions, command and act, which he said made the alliance unique, effective and exceptional.
The alliance is strengthened and enriched by every joint task, "which is why Slovenia's experience makes us all richer", the officer was quoted as saying.
He noted the work of Slovenian Lieutenant Colonel Matjaž Bizjak, whom he decorated with a medal for his exceptional contribution in his work at the NATO Military Liaison Office in Belgrade.
The NATO official was also received by President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec today.
According to the president's office, Pahor and Peach talked about NATO's role in maintaining security and stability in the future, as well as about NATO's 70th anniversary and 15th anniversary of Slovenia's membership.
On the occasion, the senior most NATO military officer again acknowledged Slovenia's contribution to the alliance and praised Slovenian troops' engagement in missions abroad.
Peach thanked Pahor for Slovenia's hosting the NATO Military Committee's annual conference. In his capacity as the SAF supreme commander Pahor will address the chiefs of defence at Friday's dinner.
Pahor and Peach also talked about Slovenia's role in providing peace and security in the Western Balkans and the chief marshal inquired about the president's view of the situation in the region.
The conference of NATO's top military authority in Ljubljana on Friday and Saturday is expected to be attended by some 400 participants.
The Military Committee forms consensus-based advice to the North Atlantic Council and the Nuclear Planning Group on military policy and strategy, and provides guidance to the two strategic commanders - supreme allied commander Europe and supreme allied commander transformation.
As such, it is an essential link between the political decision-making process and the military structure of NATO.
NATO chiefs of defence meet three times a year. Two of these conferences take place in Brussels, while one each year is hosted by a member state.
The SAF takes it as a great honour to host the meeting in the year when NATO is observing its 70th anniversary, as well as 15 years since Slovenia joined the alliance.