Stop NATO news: November 22, 2011

22 November 2011 — Stop NATO

  • NATO Warships Conduct Security Patrol In Eastern Mediterranean
  • After Libyan War, U.S. Focuses On Global Submarine Forces
  • U.S. Shifts Military Forces, Interceptor Missiles Closer To China
  • China Reacts To New U.S. Military Base In Australia
  • U.S. Uses Pentagon To Squeeze China In Asia-Pacific
  • Interoperability: U.S. Gives, Not Sells, F-16s To Indonesia
  • Philippines Seeks South Korean Arms Amid Row With China
  • Russia Could Deploy Missiles To Belarus Against NATO Interceptors
  • Western Missile Firm Moves Into United Arab Emirates
  • Azerbaijan: U.S. Navy To Expand Role In Caspian Sea
  • U.S., Swedish Warplanes In Joint Training
  • Romanians Prepare For Influx Of U.S. Troops And Missiles
  • U.S. Thanks Bulgaria For NATO Asian, African War Efforts

NATO Warships Conduct Security Patrol In Eastern Mediterranean

http://www.dvidshub.net/news/80322/nato-warships-conduct-security-patrol-eastern-mediterranean#.Tsr6PmM6tEo

NATO Maritime Command Naples
November 21, 2011

NATO Warships Conduct Security Patrol In Eastern Mediterranean
Story by David Taylor

NAPLES, Italy: Four NATO warships – Turkish frigate TCG Orucreis, German frigate FGS Schleswig-Holstein, Romanian frigate ROS Regina Maria and a French corvette and the Canadian frigate HMCS Vancouver (in associated support) – have conducted a security sweep throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. During this surge operation, Maritime patrol aircrafts have also rendered their support.

Operation Active Endeavour…The combined sea and air operation forms part of ‘OAE’ which is designed to safeguard the waters of the Mediterranean.

The Task Group commander, Turkish navy Rear Adm. Sinan Azmi Tosun, said, ‘Whilst NATO maintains a continuous watch throughout the Mediterranean with a supporting network and sophisticated technology, from time to time we concentrate our efforts to a specific area for an unpredictable period…’

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After Libyan War, U.S. Focuses On Global Submarine Forces

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=66183

U.S. Department of Defense
November 21, 2011

Undersea Forces Critical to Future Defense, Commander Says
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

-‘The USS Florida was called upon to be one of the shooters in Operation Odyssey Dawn against Libya,’ he said. ‘They launched over 90 Tomahawk cruise missiles with eye-watering, flawless performance. Never before in the history of the United States of America has one ship conducted that much land attack strikes, conventionally, in one short time period. And we did it from undersea.’
-‘The reality is, from my viewpoint … [that] as we remove our land forces from that region, the only thing that is going to provide stability in the future from a potential aggressor, like say an Iran, is going to be our maritime forces.’

GROTON, Conn.– Undersea forces will become increasingly important to the nation’s defense and in exerting military influence in the future, the commander of Submarine Group 2 said here last week.

Navy Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge provided his insights after a Nov. 17 visit here from Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who called Groton ‘the home of our submarine force’ and the ‘submarine capital of the world.’

‘It’s the original home of the Nautilus, and it is, from my point of view, one of the very important elements of our national defense that you guys are doing,’ Panetta said.

Breckenridge ultimately has operational authority of all attack submarines in the Atlantic region.

‘There are three squadrons here in Groton, Conn., and there’s one squadron in Norfolk, Va.,’ the admiral said…

Breckenridge also oversees the building of additions to the undersea force and ensures the manning, training and equipping of submarines for availability to U.S. combatant commanders.

Submarines have been used in operations as recently as Operation Odyssey Dawn, Breckenridge noted. ‘With the United Nations charter, our forces were sent in to soften up the air defenses of Libya to allow the flow of other forces,’ he said.

‘This gets back [to the] principle [that if] we don’t have superiority in the air to have our way at the onset of a crisis, we’re going to need somebody who can penetrate the defenses and soften up the adversary so then we can flow those other forces in to establish air dominance,’ he said. ‘So in the onset of that campaign, we, the undersea forces, were called upon to attack land targets in Libya.’

Breckenridge lauded the performance of one of the Navy’s attack submarines during the NATO-led operation.

‘The USS Florida was called upon to be one of the shooters in Operation Odyssey Dawn against Libya,’ he said. ‘They launched over 90 Tomahawk cruise missiles with eye-watering, flawless performance. Never before in the history of the United States of America has one ship conducted that much land attack strikes, conventionally, in one short time period. And we did it from undersea.’

In addition to the USS Florida, the USS Providence and USS Scranton, both Submarine Group 2 boats, also participated in the Libyan strike, Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, said March 19.

Breckenridge noted that undersea forces have provided a presence during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he spoke about future challenges due to declining force structure.

‘If we pull out of Afghanistan, does that mean I don’t need as many submarines in [U.S. Central Command]?’ he asked. ‘You might say, ‘Yes this is going to be good, even for the undersea forces…It’s time for us to pull back and send those submarines to other areas they need to go.’

‘The reality is, from my viewpoint … [that] as we remove our land forces from that region, the only thing that is going to provide stability in the future from a potential aggressor, like say an Iran, is going to be our maritime forces,’ Breckenridge added.

The admiral referred to this concept as ‘regional maritime denial.’

‘The need to have undersea forces, not only remains, but perhaps, increases to provide a counterbalance to make sure no aggressive action is taken in theater as we withdraw from Afghanistan,’ he said. ‘So there’s going to be a greater burden placed on the Navy, at large, and again, from an undersea, asymmetric value perspective, I think there’s going to be a greater demand for undersea forces to provide a counterbalance there.’

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U.S. Shifts Military Forces, Interceptor Missiles Closer To China

http://www.allgov.com/US_and_the_World/ViewNews/US_Shifting_Military_Forces_Closer_to_China_111121

AllGov
November 21, 2011

U.S. Shifting Military Forces Closer to China

In an effort to counterbalance China’s growing military prowess, the U.S. is working to station naval and Marine forces in the Asia-Pacific region.

The most controversial move, as far as the Chinese are concerned, is the decision to base some of the U.S. Navy’s most modern combat ships, littoral combat ships, in Singapore, which possesses strategic importance for shipping.

Singapore sits along the Straits of Malacca, through which thousands of ships pass each year between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It’s also located on the southern edge of the South China Sea, over which Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries have ongoing territorial disputes.

The Department of Defense is still negotiating with Singapore officials to station Littoral Combat Ships at the seven-year-old Changi Naval Base. The vessels can handle missions ranging from anti-piracy to submarine tracking to special operations.

In addition to the naval plans, the U.S. is preparing to permanently base anywhere from 250 to 2,500 Marines in northern Australia. The decision will allow the U.S. to more quickly deploy front-line military forces in the region in the event of a crisis.

The U.S. has already deployed anti-missile systems in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

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China Reacts To New U.S. Military Base In Australia

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/7651434.html

People’s Daily
November 21, 2011

China reacts to new US military base in Australia
Li Zhenyu

-Starting next year, a total of 2,500 U.S. military personnel and staff will be stationed in northern Australia over the next few years.
It will be American’s first long-term military expansion in the region since the Vietnam War.

Beijing: China reacted to America’s move to expand its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, saying that one should consider other regional countries’ interests when developing ties in that region.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin on Nov. 17 responded to a question at a briefing on US President Barack Obama’s recent announcement of the new military agreement between the U.S. and Australia.

‘When developing state-to-state relations, one should take into account the interests of other countries as well as the whole region, and peace and stability of the region,’ said Liu.

The military agreement provides that the U.S. will expand its military presence in Australia by positioning more US military personnel and equipment. Starting next year, a total of 2,500 U.S. military personnel and staff will be stationed in northern Australia over the next few years.

It will be American’s first long-term military expansion in the region since the Vietnam War.

When asking about whether the military agreement will affect the China-US and China-Australia relationships, Liu responded: ‘China has been actively promoting peaceful development and cooperative relationships with other countries.’

‘We think we should further deepen and enhance the cooperation between China and the United States, as well as China and Australia, because it is not only in the interests of our three countries, but of all countries in the region.’

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U.S. Uses Pentagon To Squeeze China In Asia-Pacific

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-11/19/content_14122984.htm

China Daily
November 19, 2011

US to step up influence in East Asia
By Cui Haipei
Obama wants to boost military, economic foothold in the region

-Shi Yinhong, an expert on US studies with Renmin University of China, said the US is using the East Asia Summit and the APEC summit meeting to ‘squeeze’ China, saying the US views its relationship with China as a zero-sum game and regards it as the main challenger in the region. The US’ view of China explains why the US wants to be involved in the disputes over the South China Sea, Shi said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared last year that the US has a ‘national interest’ in the South China Sea, and recently called the South China Sea the ‘West Philippine Sea’.

BEIJING: The United States aims to strengthen its economic and military foothold in the Asia-Pacific region, analysts said, following announcements made by US President Barack Obama during the APEC meetings last week and before Saturday’s East Asia Summit.

Obama on Thursday declared in a speech to the Australian Parliament that ‘the United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay’.

Several hours before his speech, he announced the US will send military aircraft and up to 2,500 US marines to northern Australia to establish a training hub to help allies and protect US interests across Asia.

With military bases and tens of thousands of troops in Japan and South Korea, the US has maintained a significant military presence in Asia for decades, said Tao Wenzhao, a senior fellow at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

He added that the northern shores of Australia will give the US easier access to the South China Sea, which is a vital commercial route.

Tao said the US’ latest moves also benefit some Asia-Pacific countries, notably the Philippines and Vietnam, which have close economic ties with China but rely on the US for security issues and have sought closer ties with the US to enforce territorial claims.

Another source of regional tension is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free-trade pact promoted by the US during the APEC forum in Hawaii last weekend.

Tao said the US hopes the TPP will be a US-dominated counterbalance to a rival trade bloc of Southeast Asian countries, China, Japan and South Korea, known as ASEAN+3.

Tao said the US’ moves indicate the country intends to be the dominant force in the Asia-Pacific region.

‘However, what Asian countries really need of the US is to be an equal partner of mutual trust rather than a leader or an arbitrator,’ he said, adding that Obama called himself ‘America’s first Pacific president’.

Shi Yinhong, an expert on US studies with Renmin University of China, said the US is using the East Asia Summit and the APEC summit meeting to ‘squeeze’ China, saying the US views its relationship with China as a zero-sum game and regards it as the main challenger in the region. The US’ view of China explains why the US wants to be involved in the disputes over the South China Sea, Shi said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared last year that the US has a ‘national interest’ in the South China Sea, and recently called the South China Sea the ‘West Philippine Sea’.

Also on Friday, Obama said that he will send Clinton to Myanmar next month in the first visit by a US secretary of state for 50 years to promote ‘flickers’ of democratic reform.

In the two-day visit, Clinton will ‘explore whether the United States can empower a positive transition’ in Myanmar, Obama said.

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Interoperability: U.S. Gives, Not Sells, F-16s To Indonesia

http://www.wnep.com/news/sns-rt-us-indonesia-usa-f-16tre7ak1bs-20111121,0,2493740.story

Reuters
November 21, 2011

U.S. says giving, not selling, F-16s to Indonesia
By Jim Wolf

-With arms transfers come training, closer military establishments and other ties…The transfer of advanced U.S. weapons will help establish a longterm security relationship, partly because the complex technology of U.S. equipment requires regular collaboration between the United States and its partners…U.S. assistance creates ‘strong incentives for recipient countries to maintain good ties with the United States,’ Andrew Shapiro, who heads the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, told a Washington audience earlier this month.

WASHINGTON: The United States is giving, not selling, two dozen second-hand F-16 fighter planes to Indonesia to strengthen security ties with an ‘important U.S. partner,’ the Defense Department said on Monday.

Elaborating on an announcement on Friday by the presidents of the two countries, the department said Jakarta would cover an estimated up to $750 million to refurbish the late-model fighters and overhaul their engines.

The F-16 C/D models are decommissioned and no longer part of the U.S. Air Force inventory. Retooled and upgraded, they will contribute to Indonesia’s ‘interoperability’ with the United States, Navy Commander Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Defense Department spokeswoman, added in an email to Reuters.

Interoperability is the extent to which military forces are able to communicate with each other and share information to achieve a common goal.

‘Indonesia is an important U.S. partner and a leader in Southeast Asia,’ Hull-Ryde said. ‘The Department of Defense is working to support the Indonesian military in their efforts to modernize the force.’

Developing ties with Indonesia, the largest country in Southeast Asia and the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, is a priority for the Obama administration as it seeks to shape the economies and security of the region.

With arms transfers come training, closer military establishments and other ties.

The United States granted Indonesia, ‘without cost,’ the Lockheed Martin Corp aircraft and United Technologies Corp Pratt & Whitney engines, Hull-Ryde said, and the fix-up bill ‘is not expected to exceed $750 million.’

President Barack Obama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced the planned F-16 transfer in a joint statement near the end of a nine-day Asia-Pacific tour that Obama used to reassert U.S. interests in the region.

The planes will give Indonesia a ‘much-needed’ capability to protect its sovereign airspace ‘without compromising the defense budget and other national priorities,’ the White House said on Friday.

The Defense Department said the C/D Block 25 models will be brought back to ‘essentially the same capabilities they once had when actively flying in the U.S. Air Force.’

The airframes are expected to be upgraded to meet the Indonesian Air Force’s current needs, Hull-Ryde said. They are coming from the U.S. Air Force’s Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona.

The transfer of advanced U.S. weapons will help establish a longterm security relationship, partly because the complex technology of U.S. equipment requires regular collaboration between the United States and its partners.

U.S. assistance creates ‘strong incentives for recipient countries to maintain good ties with the United States,’ Andrew Shapiro, who heads the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, told a Washington audience earlier this month.

(Editing by Jackie Frank)

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Philippines Seeks South Korean Arms Amid Row With China

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/asia/regional-news/2011/11/22/323674/Philippines-asks.htm

China Post
November 22, 2011

Philippines asks South Korea for military equipment amid row over disputed sea

MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino asked his visiting counterpart from South Korea on Monday for aircraft, boats and other hardware to help boost his country’s military, amid rising tensions with China.

Aquino said he and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak discussed their respective regional security concerns, which for the Philippines is the disputed South China Sea…

‘On defense cooperation, I expressed to President Lee the interest of the Philippines to gain some specific defense articles such as military-grade helicopters, boats and aircraft,’ Aquino said in a joint forum.

‘This is in consonance with the upgrading and modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.’

Lee did not disclose any response to the specific request but said South Korea wanted to cooperate with the Philippines to resolve its maritime problems.

Aquino has this year begun upgrading the Philippines’ military, which is one of the weakest in the region with its navy made up of mostly World War II-era ships and its air force consisting of Vietnam War-vintage planes.

He has said the Philippines needs to be able to defend its claims to waters and islands of the South China Sea.

China and Taiwan claim the South China Sea in full, while the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have claims to parts of the area, which is believed to hold vast oil and gas deposits.

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Russia Could Deploy Missiles To Belarus Against NATO Interceptors

http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=246424

Reuters
November 21, 2011

Report: Russia says may deploy missiles in Belarus

MOSCOW: Moscow has threatened to deploy tactical missiles in Belarus and on its own borders if talks with Washington on European missile defense plans fail, a senior diplomatic source told Interfax news agency on Monday.

The source said that Moscow might set up Iskander missiles in Belarus and in Russia’s Krasnodar region. It has previously threatened to deploy missile launch pads in Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.

‘This would allow us to counter the threats to Russia’s strategic forces in case US missile defense components are deployed close to our borders,’ the source said.

Russia sees the US missile defense system in Europe, which is not due to be fully installed until 2020, as a threat to its strategic nuclear potential. Moscow has threatened a new ‘arms race’ with Washington if its concerns are ignored.

Russia said it would deploy Iskander missiles during the George W. Bush administration, but suspended those plans in 2009 after US President Barack Obama scaled down his predecessor’s plans. Russia still says the revised system threatens its security.

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Western Missile Firm Moves Into United Arab Emirates

http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/the-life/missile-firm-to-help-emirates-rocket-ahead

The National
November 22, 2011

Missile firm to help Emirates rocket ahead
Gillian Duncan

As part of its Economic Vision 2030, the Abu Dhabi Government is trying to diversify away from oil to grow the emirate’s economy. Florent Duleux, the vice president for Middle East export sales for the missile systems company MBDA, talks about the company’s push to be a part of the local defence industry.

q&a

q MBDA has had a presence in the region for 30 years. How has the business here changed over time?

a The first contract initiated here was following the equipment of platforms, either aircraft or ships. Over recent years, the need has evolved much more into systems not necessarily associated with platforms, which are still part of the needs – obviously, either for aircraft or ships – but also in the air defence systems for which MBDA can refer a complete multi-layer system. That is to say from a range of brands up to medium-range air defence, fully adaptive to the threats in the region.

q And you are going to set up a factory?

a Absolutely, we’re having very deep discussions at the moment with the UAE authorities. We started that process a while ago and we are very hopeful that 2012 will be the ending of that process and a decision [will be] taken by both parties to launch the … factory.

q What will the factory produce?

a We make missiles and missile systems, and the discussions we have are for both. A good example is the air defence systems: you have multi-layers of missiles and site launchers, but you have one system to launch it and to coordinate all that, and MBDA is manufacturing the whole of it. We have already set up some local companies which could do some subcontracting for us as well.

q How big is the gap in knowledge at the moment, and do UAE universities offer anything similar already?

a They have some ongoing programmes, which are being developed at the same time. The technology we will transfer here took us 50 years to build. The European industry has been built in 50 years and MBDA is the fruit of this 50 years of international cooperation. This is unique. The gain in time to welcome such technology is huge for the UAE.

====

Azerbaijan: U.S. Navy To Expand Role In Caspian Sea

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1959824.html

Trend News Agency
November 21, 2011

Azerbaijan, US examine naval cooperation
M. Aliyev

Baku: Gen.-Colonel Safar Abiyev, Defense Minister of Azerbaijan, on Monday met the visiting US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in Baku.

Minister Safar Abiyev spoke about the current state of links between US and Azerbaijani naval forces, the Press Service of the Defense Ministry told Trend on Monday.

For his part, Ray Mabus said his visit should be appreciated as a constituent part of the importance the US attaches to Azerbaijan.

The situation in the region was examined, and opinions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno Karabakh were exchanged at the meeting.

The meeting was also attended by Mathew Bryza, US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Azerbaijan.

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U.S., Swedish Warplanes In Joint Training

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123280520

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
November 21, 2011

Liberty Wing maintains friendship, trains with Swedish Air Force
by Staff Sgt. Connor Estes
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, ENGLAND: A Swedish JAS-39 Gripen jet takes off from the Royal Air Force Lakenheath flight line followed directly by an F-15 Eagle. The two aircraft engage in simulated combat to train and learn from each other.

Swedish Air Force crews participated in a week-long squadron exchange program with the Liberty Wing concluding Nov. 18.

The 493rd Fighter Squadron ‘Grim Reapers’, operating the F-15C Eagle aircraft, acted as hosts for the Gripen fighters and their crew. The 492nd Fighter Squadron ‘Madhatters’ and 494th Fighter Squadron ‘Panthers’, operating the F-15E Strike Eagle also participated in the training.

‘I thought the training was a huge success and to work with our sister wing from Sweden was outstanding,’ said Capt. Mike Culhane, 493rd FS C-flight commander. ‘We executed our mission along with the Swedish pilots seamlessly. We were very impressed with the Gripen; it’s a very capable aircraft.’

For the Swedish pilots it was a great opportunity to learn and fly in a different location.

‘It’s really good for our new guys to be in a new environment and see how things work at another base, a whole other country,’ said 2nd Lt. Jonas Eriksson, Swedish Gripen pilot.

The training centered on air-to-air exercises between the American F-15s and Swedish JAS-39s to gain experience with dissimilar aircrafts. Some of the training consisted of basic fighting maneuvers against the F-15s and large force employments scenarios.

‘The aim for us is to improve our interoperability and to fly against aircraft different than ours,’ said Lt. Col. Joergem Marqvardsem, Swedish Air Force 211 commander and pilot. ‘For most of our pilots this is the first time flying against F-15s, so the training was superb in attaining that experience.’

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Romanians Prepare For Influx Of U.S. Troops And Missiles

http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2011/11/anti-missile-defence-romania

The Economist
November 7, 2011

Anti-missile defence in Romania
The great shield of Deveselu
By V.P.

BUCHAREST: As the world frets about a possible military strike on Iran, villagers in a remote part of southern Romania are taking English lessons. Why? Because they want to be able to talk to the American soldiers who will soon be stationed in Deveselu, where the United States army is renting an abandoned airport. By 2015, there should be up to 500 of them, securing 24 anti-ballistic missiles.

Not everyone is as enthusiastic about the deal, sealed in September during a visit by Traian B?sescu, Romania’s president, to Washington DC. ‘I feel betrayed… we were not asked if we want this shield,’ says Valeric? Jumug?, a former pilot.

In 2007, when the idea of Romania hosting part of the US anti-ballistic missile shield first came up, the Social Democratic opposition said it would demand a referendum on the issue…Last week Mircea Geoan?, the Social Democratic chairman of Romania’s Senate, said that parliament should ratify the missile-shield deal as soon as possible, to reinforce the US-Romanian ‘strategic partnership.’

If the United States is seeking to intercept rockets from the Middle East, southern Romania and Turkey (where the radar will be stationed) make more geographical sense than Mr Bush’s plans did. And happily, neither country shares a border with Russia. (Poland is next to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.)

Still, Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, is demanding ‘written guarantees’ that the shield will not be used against Russia. And Ukraine, which stretches between Russia and Romania, has said that it would only be interested in a system that included Russia. It is unhappy that it was not consulted by Romania over the deal.

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U.S. Thanks Bulgaria For NATO Asian, African War Efforts

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=134033

Sofia News Agency
November 17, 2011

US Navy Secretary Conveys Obama’s Special Thanks to Bulgaria

-’The high-level meetings between Bulgaria and the USA underscore the importance of our relations,’ Mabus commented with respect to last year’s visit in Sofia of then CIA head and current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the recent visit in Bulgaria by Secret Service head Marc Sullivan, and the talks that Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov had in the USA recently.

US President Barack Obama has sent special thanks to Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov for Bulgaria’s military mission in Afghanistan, US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in Sofia.

Mabus was received Thursday by Borisov and Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov, the government press service announced.

The US Secretary of the Navy also noted Bulgaria’s participation in NATO’s Unified Protector Mission off the Libyan coast during the civil war in Libya where Bulgaria took part with the Drazki frigate patrolling in the Mediterranean.

According to Mabus, the Bulgarian armed forces have demonstrated their high capabilities during their missions in Afghanistan, where some 600 Bulgarian troops are still serving within the ISAF, and off the Libyan coast.

Afghanistan is at a decisive juncture in its history and it is extremely important for the Allies to help improve the situation there including with respect to the training of the Afghan security forces that are supposed to take over from ISAF, the US Secretary of the Navy pointed out in Sofia.

‘The high-level meetings between Bulgaria and the USA underscore the importance of our relations,’ Mabus commented with respect to last year’s visit in Sofia of then CIA head and current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the recent visit in Bulgaria by Secret Service head Marc Sullivan, and the talks that Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov had in the USA recently.

Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Angelov and the US Navy Secretary have praised the effects of the joint military drills of the Bulgarian and US armed forces.

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