Croatian Defense Minister Damir Krsticicevic was in Washington where he met with US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis.
Croatia’s Jutarnji List daily is reporting that at the start of their meeting, Mattis and Krsticevic spoke about Operation Storm, which the former interlocutor “pointed out was an example of a military operation that is being studied in American military schools.”
Operation Storm was an 1995 attack on Serb areas in Croatia, which resulted in the expulsion of more than 200,000 ethnic Serbs from that country.
“22 years ago next month marks the anniversary of an operation named Storm, an operation that is studied in the US military to show what a well-led force, well trained, well equipped, and with good political guidance, how it can change the course of history. And we are honored to have you here today for your role in that operation,” Mattis said, according to remarks quoted by the newspaper, and added:
“We have great respect here for our friend and ally. It’s a small country, but I would just say that it, as we say, bats above its weight, fights above its weight. You’ve been a wonderful example.”
Speaking for Croatia’s state broadcaster HRT after the meeting, Krsticevic said that they discussed “contribution to international security, about terrorism, NATO, the political and security situation in Croatia, Southeast Europe, the strengthening of defense cooperation, and support of the US to the development of the Croatian army.”
Mattis “reiterated that Croatia can be an exemplary NATO state and praised the contribution of Croatian soldiers,” said Krsticevic.
According to Jutarnji List, one of the topics discussed by the two ministers was “military aviation.”
“This decision has been awaited for 15 years, there is no more time. I received Minister Mattis’ support for this project. We are one step closer to buying American planes. We will make a decision about the acquisition by the end of the year, I am looking forward to that cooperation,” Krsticevic told HRT.