IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, left for Brussels today (Tuesday) for a two day work visit. During the visit, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi will participate in a conference of the Chiefs of Defense of NATO member countries, and will conduct work meetings with his counterparts from around the world.
During the conference, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, will hold a ceremonial dinner at his home for the NATO Chiefs of Defense. During the dinner Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola will bid a farewell Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who is soon to conclude four years of service in the position of IDF Chief of Staff, and to retire from the IDF after 40 years of service.
When meeting his counterparts, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi will discuss the security challenges facing the IDF and the State of Israel, be they near or far, including the mixture of regional threats. He will also discuss the importance of cooperation between Israel and NATO member countries in the fight against the global terrorist threat. Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi will also deliver a speech at a meeting of the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue with the Chiefs of Defense of NATO member countries.
Escorting the Chief of the General Staff are his wife Ronit, the IDF Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu, Head of the International Military Cooperation Department in the Planning Directorate, Colonel Hani Caspi, Israeli Defense Attaché to NATO, Colonel Uri Halperin and Aide-de-Camp, Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Col. Amos HaCohen.
During his absence, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi will be replaced by his deputy, Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh.
The work meetings scheduled for Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi in Brussels with his counterparts:
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael G. Mullen
- Chief of Defense Staff of the Canadian Forces, General Walt Natynczyk
- Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, General Mieczyslaw Cieniuch
- Chief of the Australian Defense Force, Air Chief Allan Grant [Angus] Houston
- French Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral Edouard Guillaud
- Chief of Defense Staff of the UK Armed Forces, General Sir David Richards
- Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General Nikolai Makarov
- Chief of Defense General Staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces, Air Chief Marshal Ioannis Giagkos
- Chief of Defense Staff of the Spanish Armed Forces, General José Julio Rodríguez Fernández
- Chief of Defense Staff of Italy, General Biago Abrate
- During the conference, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi will also meet for dinner with USEUCOM Commander, Admiral James G. Stavridis.