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Dempsey Recaps NATO Meetings in Lithuania

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2014 – Russia’s continuing aggression in Ukraine, vulnerabilities posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other threats along NATO’s southern borders, and the alliance’s continuing commitments in Afghanistan were the chief topics in meetings with NATO’s chiefs of defense in Vilnius, Lithuania, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

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Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, center, talks with Army Gen. John Campbell, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, right, between sessions of the NATO Military Committee conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, held Sept. 20-21, 2014. DoD photo by D. Myles Cullen

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In a statement summarizing the meetings, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey added that today’s agreement between Afghanistan’s presidential candidates to form a new national unity government “puts us in a much better place than we were a week ago.”

“Now we need a signed security agreement and a NATO [status of forces agreement], both of which should be accomplished fairly quickly,” Dempsey said. The agreements are necessary for U.S. and NATO forces to have a role in Afghanistan beyond the current mission, which ends Dec. 31, and both candidates said during the election process that they would sign the agreements.

The chiefs of defense also elected Gen. Petr Pavel, the chief of staff of the Czech Republic's armed forces, to be the next chairman of the NATO Military Committee, the chairman said. “His appointment is significant, because he will be the first Eastern European military leader to take the job,” he added.

Pavel will take the post in July, succeeding Danish Gen. Knud Bartels, whom Dempsey called “a trusted friend.”

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Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

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