On 5-7 March, General Stephane Abrial visited Russia, for the first time as Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT). He met with the military leadership and high ranking civilian officials as well as with representatives for expert and diplomatic communities in Moscow.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Abrial met with the Deputy Minister, Mr Alexander Grushko, with whom he had a cordial exchange of views on key topics of the NATO-Russia relationship.
During his discussions with the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Nikolay Makarov and Colonel General Valery Gerasimov, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, the main focus was on current and possible future prospects for cooperation. There was also an exchange of opinions on current reforms and modernisation processes undertaken by the Russian Armed Forces and those of the NATO countries. The ‘Smart Defence’ project was also covered in depth.
Abrial and Makarov agreed that much is being done to pursue military cooperation between NATO and Russia, and that the scope for intensification of dialogue and practical cooperation was substantial.
“For a true strategic partnership to emerge it is important that both sides know, trust and understand each other. I’m very encouraged by the way I have been welcomed here and the constructive discussions we have had. We paved the way for further fruitful collaboration” said Abrial.
Prior to official talks General Abrial laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden at the Kremlin Wall.
SACT also visited the General Staff Academy where he engaged in an open debate with Russian military academics of the Military Strategic Research Centre of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
Before leaving, SACT visited the NATO Military Liaison Mission and the NATO Information Office in Moscow. He met with the staff of both offices and had an informal debate with a small group of Russian defence experts and journalists.
Photo: Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Stephane Abrial with the
Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Nikolay Makarov.
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