19:44 / 01.02.2022.

Author: Nikola Badovinac

U.K Defence Secretary welcomed in Zagreb

U.K Defence Secretary welcomed in Zagreb

U.K Defence Secretary welcomed in Zagreb

Foto: Goran Stanzl / Pixsell

Croatia and the United Kingdom stand side by side in supporting the right of sovereign states to choose their destiny, the visiting Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, said in Zagreb on Tuesday.

During his official visit to Zagreb, the U.K Defence Secretary and his host, Croatian Defence Minister Mario Banožić, discussed the security situation against a backdrop of growing tensions in Ukraine and the build-up of Russian troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border.

"Croatia and the United Kingdom stand shoulder to shoulder in defending the right of sovereign countries to choose their own destiny. What they choose is almost secondary to that sacred right to choose as a sovereign state how it wishes to secure its security and whether or not to join NATO," said Wallace during a news conference in Zagreb.

NATO, the EU and the U.K. are absolutely united in the support to Ukraine's sovereignty, and the Russia-Ukraine crisis must be solved through dialogue, he said.

Banožić said that Croatia could fully understand the current situation of Ukraine, and in this context he recalled Croatia's recent struggle for its independence and its territory.

"We agree that the security situation in Eastern Europe is very concerning and we hope it will not escalate further. A diplomatic solution is needed most of all right now," sad Banožić.

The two officials signed an agreement on strategic partnership between their departments and the deal regulates the strengthening of the relations within NATO, in the Western Balkans and in coping with the hybrid threats as well as on cooperation in upgrading the interoperability of the two countries' armed forces.

The two ministers called for the continuation of dialogue in the Western Balkans and also pointed out the importance of reforms and the further integration of that region in the EU and NATO.

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