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Panetta, Czech Republic Counterpart Discuss Key Issues

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta hosted the Czech Republic’s top defense official here today to discuss several key issues, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby said.

Among the topics Panetta discussed with Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra was “the unequivocal commitment of the United States to the NATO alliance,” Kirby said.

They also discussed the 2012 NATO summit, which will be held in Chicago in May, and the Czech Republic's proposal for a multinational aviation training center, he added.

“Secretary Panetta thanked the minister for the Czechs’ critical contributions to operations in Afghanistan, and they both discussed plans for the transition,” Kirby said. “They also exchanged views on the budget challenges each country is facing and expressed satisfaction that the language for a Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement has been agreed.”

Panetta and Vondra agreed to maintain communication as they prepare for future meetings, the Pentagon spokesman added.

“The ministers agreed to continue a close dialogue in the coming months ahead as they prepare for the NATO defense ministerial in Brussels next month and for the Chicago summit,” he said.

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Leon E. Panetta

Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force
State Department Background Note on the Czech Republic

Click photo for screen-resolution imageU.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, right, looks on as Czech Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra signs the guest book at the Pentagon, Jan. 24, 2012. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley  
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