Remarks by the former Chairman of SEDM Ministerial,
Ambassador Eleftherios Anghelopoulos
on the occasion of the Chairmanship Hand – Over Take - Over Ceremony in Tirnavos, on 30 Aug 2019
Generals, officers, soldiers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is both a great honor and pleasure to welcome you to SEEBRIG headquarters in Tyrnavos at this important day of our initiative. Today we celebrates 20 years from the activation of our Brigade. It was on the 31st of August 1999, twenty 20 years ago, when our countries decided to activate the South- Eastern Europe Brigade, in order to contribute to regional security and stability and to foster good relations in our region.
Today, as we look back, we can say that, indeed, SEEBRIG has successfully achieved its objective, as it remains the valuable military component in the context of the SEDM Process and offers a unique platform for cooperation, mutual training, exchanging of ideas and producing of lessons learned.
Ladies and Gentlemen
As Athens SEDM-CC/PMSC Chairmanship begun its mission, two years ago, we were looking forward to promoting the activities, vision and ideas of the Process with the support of all its Member States and contributing to the fulfillment of the goals and priorities of the initiative. In these priorities, SEEBRIG always maintained its Key role.
We focused our efforts, on our close cooperation based on our fundamental principles, good neighborly relations and full respect of International Law, with a view to strengthening stability and security in the region of Southeastern Europe.
I believe that during the last two years all the current projects and activities of SEDM Process, more specifically, Interconnection of Military Hospitals (IMIHO), SEDM Official Portal, Female Leaders in Security and Defence (FLSD), Building Integrity (BI), as well as the Southeastern Europe Simulation Exercise (SEESIM), have enhanced their effectiveness and usability and they have been proved as useful tools to support the goals of our initiative at a time of serious financial constraints.
The use of digital technologies in the form of online Services, available to authorized users. Incorporation of best practices at limited or no cost to Member States, certainly improved the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and standardization of SEDM functions, while facilitated fruitful cooperation and interaction among our officials.
Furthermore, the finalization and the signing of the 6th Additional Protocol of the Multinational Peace Force South Eastern Europe Agreement was a positive step for our Initiative. In addition, the approval of ’HQ SEEBRIG Disaster Relief Operations (DRO) Capabilities List’’ by the Defence Ministers and the planning for the way ahead on revitalizing SEEBRIG South East Europe Disasters Relief Operation Concept was a special achievement in an area where we should join our forces and act collectively.
Ladies and Gentlemen
SEDM, as a forum that promotes dialogue and cooperation among its member nations, needs to be adaptable to such new and complex challenges which, nowadays, affect not only security and stability, but also the economic and social well being of our peoples. Stability and economic growth have a two-way relationship. There can be no economic growth without stability and stability solely cannot lead to economic growth.
At the same time, the regional and flexible character of our initiative should be preserved, so as to be able to act wherever and whenever it might be needed.
Greece being at the Chairmanship for the past two years had the privilege to chair meetings of our Committees in Athens, Thessaloniki and Chania, Deputy Chiefs of Defence meetings in Athens and Skopje, and Ministerial Meetings in Batumi. All these meetings constitute a process that, at the end of the day, strengthens our bonds and promotes our common values.
My conviction is that the benefits we can draw when we cooperate are far more numerous and valuable than those we owe to leave to the past. It is time to permanently put aside the prejudices, the hesitations and any negative stereotypes or behaviors of the past. We owe to future generations, to create new paths of cooperation. To proceed with a new pace, under a new perspective and with a new momentum.
At this point as the Chairman of Athens Chairmanship I want to express my deepest appreciation to the Director of our Secretariat, General Achilleas Taouxis and to his team for their tireless efforts to provide the most qualified and professional standards to all of our activities having always in the center of their actions the love for their colleagues and the spirit of sincere and genuine friendship.
As we complete today our two years term of the SEDM Athens Chairmanship, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your enthusiastic cooperation, support and contribution to the fulfillment of the goals of our Initiative.
With our work we have managed to accomplish our mission and promote the activities, vision and ideas of the Process, and have implemented the priorities of our program.
I would also like to highlight the importance of the friendship bond that we have built together, confirming the words of Aristotle “friendship is essentially a partnership’’, the motto of the Athens Chairmanship.
Athens Chairmanship would also like to thank HQ SEEBRIG and COMSEEBRIG Brig.Gen. Tudorica PETRACHE and all the officers of his staff as well as the regional and international organizations engaged with the SEDM Process for their valuable input, continued support and active collaboration.
We present our best wishes to the incoming Tirana Chairmanship, for success in all their endeavors to the benefit of the member states of SEDM and our entire region.
Thank you for your attention.
Speech of the Chairman of the Albanian SEDM Secretariat,
H.E. PETRO KOÇI
Dear General Petrache,
Dear Ambassador Angelopulos,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s a great pleasure and my privilege to be here today, as the Deputy Minister of Defense of Republic of Albania and in the same time as the Chairman of the Albanian SEDM Secretariat.
First, allow me to express my appreciation and gratitude to the SEEBRIG Brigade, in particular to the Commander, a friend of mine, Brigadier General Tudorica Petrache, for the excellent organization of this official ceremony and the hospitality offered to us in Larisa.
I would like to thank as well the former SEDM Secretariat and the former Chairman of the SEDM Coordination Committee and the Political Military Steering Committee, H.E. Ambassador Mr. Eleftherios Anghelopoulos, for the immense work done so far and allow me to congratulate you, Mr Ambassador, and your team for the achievements under your Chairmanship (2017-20119).
Through a steady and serious commitment, Albania has been very active in fostering constructive regional cooperation and enhancing connectivity by working closely with our neighbors, either in bilateral and as well in regional platforms. In this context, I would like to highlight the key initiatives for cooperation in the region like the US-Adriatic Charter (A-5), the South-East Europe Defence Ministerial (SEDM) as well as the Center for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC), which Albania will hold the chairmanship (for all three), in these years.
Albania is fully aware that the today’s security environment is challenging in every way, and what is more important unpredictability is becoming the new reality and the hybrid threats the new norm. We still leave in peace but a peace that is threatened or disrupted every day be the actions of irrational state actors and even more by non-state actors.
It is this reality and the challenges of unpredicted future that make our cooperation a necessity and an alternative for success in overcoming challenges. The Ministry of Defense of Albania is a firm supporter of the Southeast European Defense Ministerial (SEDM) and especially what it stands for, the further strengthening of regional defense cooperation.
After more than twenty years of SEDM history, it has proved the validity of serving as an excellent confidence-building mechanism; strengthening the military cooperation in South-Eastern Europe; providing the necessary environment for interaction and cooperation among our servicemen and women; enhancing the level of interaction with other international organizations, namely NATO and EU, and by contributing in certain operations and missions with its MPFSEE. We still do believe that SEEBRIG may very well serve as a good frame and example of pooling and sharing of our countries capacities for regional civil emergencies and NATO’s military operations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Αs the Chairman of the SEDM Process until July 2021, I would like to assure all of you that both the staff of the Albanian Chairmanship Secretariat and myself will work together with the member nations of the initiative to make SEDM more relevant to the security challenges of our region, useful and effective in enhancing regional stability in our region.
Personally I am very happy that now we can freely call each other by names and not by numbers. This new reality is the merit of Greece and North Macedonia. Other actors in the region should use this example of courage and realism to boost the spirit of cooperation and demostrate that the future interests must prevail over memories of the past. SEDM remains an inviting initiative.
Finally, once again I should reiterate that it represents an important forum for strengthening regional security and defence cooperation, building confidence, fostering dialogue and promoting good neighborly relations. The future of SEDM should be based on developing projects and activities where the widest possible interest among member states prevails and collective efforts produce outputs of meaningful substance.
Thank you for the attention and I am looking forward seeing and host you in Tirana in the mid-September.