Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Intensifying defence cooperation with Austria

During the bilateral defence consultations and discussions on defence policy in Vienna from 9 to 11 February 2016, Head of the Directorate for Security Policy Major General Johan Frank and Head of the International Military Cooperation Department Navy Captain Milan Konjikovac stated that the defence cooperation was intensive and meaningful, on a constant rise and in line with the overall relations between the two countries..

In an open and constructive dialogue, they exchanged views on current regional and global security issues, with special emphasis on migratory crisis and terrorism.

They agreed that the final solution of that complex challenge cannot be in partial and local steps, but in the unified appearance of the entire international community.

As one of the steps, the Austrian side has launched an initiative to hold an emergency meeting of the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) at the level of Defence Ministers in Vienna, to which the defence ministers of the Republic of Serbia, Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia were invited, to consider joint engagement of the members of the armed forces during the migratory crisis, especially on the "Balkan Route", as well as improving the cross-border cooperation.

As a basic precondition for stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans region they underlined the need to improve the regional cooperation and joint action in combating contemporary security challenges and threats.

Major General Frank introduced Navy Captain Milan Konjikovac to the key elements of the strategic documents of the Republic of Austria in the field of defence and the achievements in the defence reform. He congratulated the Republic of Serbia on the successful Chairmanship of the OSCE and thanked for the shared experiences since Austria is to take over the Chairmanship-in-Office in 2017. General Frank reiterated their support for the European integration of Serbia and expressed readiness to share the experiences from the involvement in the concept of the European Union battle groups and the European Defence Agency.

Navy Captain Konjikovac pointed out that, due to the fact that Austria is a participant in the Partnership for Peace Programme and militarily neutral country, the Austrian experience in the field of defence can be of great benefit to Serbia. He introduced General Frank to the level of cooperation with NATO within the Partnership for Peace Programme, the priorities of cooperation with the European Union, and current plans for deployment in multinational operations.

Navy Captain Konjikovac thanked for the professional engagement of the members of the Austrian Armed Forces in KFOR and reiterated that for Serbia KFOR is the only guarantor of security in Kosovo and Metohija.

They jointly stated the importance of the continuity of high-level meetings for the purpose of determining the strategic directions of future cooperation, as well as the deepening of military-to-military cooperation, which would contribute to raising the level of operational and functional capabilities of the armed forces.

At the end of the meeting they agreed and signed the 2016 Bilateral Defence Cooperation Programme.