Pavel: Balkans far from stable, threatened by terrorism

Petr Pavel (right), chairman of the NATO Military | army

Chairman of NATO Military Committee General Petr Pavel has claimed that the Balkans are “far from stable.” At the alliance’s conference in Croatia, he said that the region is both threatened by so-called Islamic terrorism and Russian influence, sources said.

Pavel, who became the first committee chief from the former Eastern bloc, noted that the military alliance should be able to deter opponents and defend the members of NATO. Following a conference of the Military Committee of NATO, he pointed out at a press briefing in Split that “NATO must have the ability, strength and resources to distract opponents and defend its members against any threat.”

“The situation in the Balkans is far from stable and we are all aware than the Western Balkans are still a potential source of conflict,” Pavel added.

 Balkans is threatened by Takfiri extremist terrorism and by the Russian influence,” he claimed. Talking on the Takfiri threat, Pavel said that NATO “should play greater role in the fight against terrorism,” especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina which could become a hotbed for terrorism impacting both Europe and the US.

The general said that NATO should remain flexible in this new political environment, specifying in particular that cooperation with Moscow shouldn’t be ruled out. Such Balkan nations as Albania, Slovenia and Croatia are current members of NATO. In May, Montenegro signed a protocol for joining the bloc, which is now being ratified by all the alliance’s members. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a NATO membership candidate.