SECNAV Concludes Trip to Visit European Partners
Story Number: NNS101012-15
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin O'Brien, Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs
NUUK, Greenland (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) concluded a whirlwind trip Oct. 12 that included Belgium, all three Baltic states, attended a reception on board USS Taylor (FFG-50) in Spain and met with local leaders and scientists in Greenland.
SECNAV Ray Mabus began his trip in Brussels, Belgium, with Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis to discuss current operations in the European Command.
Mabus spent the following day meeting with both U.S. and European military and civilian leadership at NATO to discuss strategic objectives for the Navy and Marine Corps and maritime security cooperation with European nations.
Mabus also had meetings with Belgian Minister of Defense Pieter de Crem, Belgian Ambassador to the United States Howard Gutman and Deputy Director General of Crisis Management Planning Directorate EU Council of Ministers Madame Claude-France Arnould.
"My trip to Belgium has been very productive," Mabus said. "I had several meetings with members of NATO and the European Union. Our discussion included everything from military coalition contributions in Afghanistan to the research of energy alternatives and maritime security."
Following a two-day stop in Belgium, Mabus visited all three Baltic States, Mabus met with several civilian and military leaders including the U.S. Ambassador to Estonia Michael Polt, Minister of Defense Jaak Aaviksoo, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet and Commander of the Estonian Navy Capt. Igor Schvede. During his meetings, Mabus discussed the relationship and the joint cooperation between the U.S. military and the Estonian military.
"The contributions your country's military has made in Afghanistan and your relationship with our Navy and Marine Corps is appreciated," Mabus said. "I want to personally thank you for your continued support."
Mabus' second visit was to Riga, Latvia, and included office calls with the U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Judith Garber, Minister of Defense Imants Liegis and a meeting with Latvian President Valdis Zatlers.
While meeting with Zatlers, Mabus discussed the strength of the bilateral and NATO commitment to Baltic security.
"Mr. President, thank you for meeting with me today," Mabus said. "Your commitment to security is so important to Lativia, your Baltic neighbors and the United States. We will continue to work together to strengthen the Baltic region."
Following his trip to the Baltics, Mabus made a quick overnight visit to La Coruna, Spain, to visit with Sailors on board USS Taylor (FFG 50). Mabus personally thanked the crew for their patriotism and service to our Nation.
"It is an honor for me to be here today in La Coruna on the final leg of your deployment," Mabus said. "The sacrifice you and your families make everyday is appreciated by me and the people at home. Thank you for keeping us safe."
Mabus concluded his trip with a visit to Greenland. During his visit, Mabus met with the Premier of Greenland Jakob Edvard Kuupik Kleist and spent a day on board the Danish Arctic Patrol Vessel HDMS Ejnar Mikkelsen (P-571). While underway, Mabus expressed his concerns and goals regarding the climate change in the region.
"U.S. shares your interest in the Arctic and recognizes this is a region that requires more attention," Mabus said. "One of my priorities as SECNAV is making the Department of the Navy more energy efficient. For example, by 2016, I plan to deploy the Great Green Fleet powered entirely by alternative fuels and by 2020 one half of all the energy will be from alternative sources."
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