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    • Make the matter of defence cooperation closer to citizens

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    • Date: 12 June 2013
      Peacekeeping operation are in the nexus of modern civil-military cooperation, and will continue to present a test for the ability of the armed forces, their level of training and interoperability - these were conclusions of the roundtable "Future of (Serbia’s) Security Integration: Cooperation in Defence and Peacekeeping," that BCSP Researcher Marko Savkovic participated in.
      The event in Nis gethered around 30 participants
      The event in Nis gethered around 30 participants

      The roundtable on the future of security integration of Serbia held in Nis on 12 June 2013 was envisioned as part of the promotional activities for the third Belgrade Security Forum, which will be hosted by three partner organizations - Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE), Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) and the European Movement in Serbia (EMINS) - from 19 to 21 September this year.

      Event was attended by a great number of citizens of Nis, as well as representatives of civil society, local authorities and institutions of the security sector in Serbia. 

      In their opening remarks, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Serbia Rastislav Kostilnik, Director of Partnership Development in the Atlantic Council of Slovakia, Jan Cingel, Program Coordinator in the BFPE Nenad Bosiljcic and Protecta Director, Milan Stefanovic stressed that with the organization of the roundtable, organizers attempted to get complex and little-known problem of defence cooperation closer to citizens’ understanding.

      Therefore, first panel, which hosted the political director of the Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to NATO Peter Bator and BCSP Researcher Marko Savkovic, was dedicated to trends and challenges in the field of defence cooperation. Bator opened the floor by critically assessing most important mechanisms of cooperation between NATO and Serbia, as part of its participation in the Partnership for Peace (PfP): IPAP and PARP. He offered his opinion on the provocative question, which mechanisms of cooperation that NATO initiated do not work. Savkovic stressed that it is noticeable that Serbia's cooperation with other countries and NATO has intensified in recent months, pointing to a series of diplomatic visits, exchanges, meetings and other activities. He said that there are two trends, or principal purposes of Serbia's cooperation in the field of defence - first, to advance the capability of the system to respond to its three primary missions, and second, to modernize the defence system by introducing contemporary management practices. In this sense, questions posed to Marko concerned defence transparency, practices of financial management, audit, and procurement of weapons.

      Work in the second panel, entirely devoted to peacekeeping operations, and the issue of new trends of engagement for armed forces in the region, began with the presentation of the military advisor to the Slovak Deputy Minister of Defence, Colonel Josef Kotas, who presented the involvement of the armed forces of his country in peacekeeping operations, with special emphasis on the (lack of) success of NATO's ISAF operation in Afghanistan. Major Goran Topalovic of the Centre for Peacekeeping Operations of the Serbian Armed Forces (SAF) General Staff presented plans for engagement in peacekeeping operations in 2013. Major Topalovic said how, by the end of 2013, for the first time as many as 300 members of the SAF will be deployed to operations abroad; that deployment of an entire infantry company in the UNIFIL operation in Lebanon is planned; as well as deployment of a specialist vessel protection team in Gulf of Aden. Citizens were interested in the financial cost of Serbia’s participation in peacekeeping operations; whether it is possible to deploy retired members, as well as active reserve of the SAF; is there any contact and exchange of information with our citizens working for private companies in the area of ​​operations, and whether and how defence system uses lessons learned from operations.

      The round table in Nis was organised by the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE), in cooperation with the Slovak Atlantic Council, Protecta, Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), and with the expert support of the Ministry of Defence of Slovakia.

      Report prepared by BCSP Researcher Marko Savkovic

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