From NATO: On invitation of Admiral Édouard Guillaud, French Chief of Defence, NATO’s Military Committee Chairman (CMC) Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola paid his first official visit to France.
Following the welcoming ceremony at the Ecole Militaire, Adm. Guillaud and Adm. Di Paola held bilateral talks focused on France’s role in Operation Unified Protector and the relevant lessons from NATO’s engagement in Libya. All the other ongoing operations such as NATO’s operation in Afghanistan (ISAF), Kosovo (KFOR) and the Anti Piracy operation Ocean Shield were at the top of their agenda. Taking into account the austere economic environment, both military leaders agreed to continue to find innovative ways to implement NATO’s "Smart Defence" concept through multinational cooperation among Allies.
Vice Admiral Richard Laborde, the Director of the Institute of Higher National Defence Studies and of Higher Military Training, emphasized that this was the first official visit of NATO’s most senior military Official after France’s full reintegration into the NATO Command Structure.
In his address to the Ecole de Guerre, the Institut des hautes études de défense nationale (IHEDN), and the representatives of the Institut national des hautes études de la sécurité et de la justice (INHESJ), NATO’s senior military officer applauded France’s key role in NATO’s engagement in Libya. “Libya has demonstrated that NATO works ; that NATO has been able to act with unprecedented speed and precision to fulfill the UN mandate of protecting the people of Libya, strong of a sound legal basis and a solid regional support,” Di Paola said. Elaborating on the current challenges the Alliance and the Euro-Atlantic area are facing, the Chairman of the Military Comitee remarked that the current security environment provides unique challenges and opportunities for the Alliance to strengthen cooperation among Allies and foster relationships with Partners.
The NATO Delegation concluded his visit with a meeting with Senator Jacques Gautier, Vice-chairman of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces Commission and Gen. Benoît Puga, Chief of the Military Staff of the President of the Republic. Speaking on France’s full reintegration into the NATO Command Structure, Admiral Di Paola underlined that “this has been remarkably successful and will be a foundation for even greater achievements in the Alliance’s future endeavors.” (photo:Reuters)