IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, departed on Tuesday for Brussels for a two day work visit. During the visit, 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.
A ceremonial dinner will be held during the conference in the home of the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, for the NATO Chiefs of Defense. During the dinner Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola will bid a farewell to Ashkenazi, who in a few weeks will be concluding four years of service in the position of IDF Chief of Staff and will retire from the IDF after 40 years of service.
Ashkenazi will discuss with his counterparts the security challenges facing the IDF and the State of Israel, both near and 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.
Ashkenazi is also slated to deliver a speech at a meeting of the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue with the Chiefs of Defense of NATO member countries.
He will be joined by his wife Ronit, 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.
Ashkenazi took part in a NATO conference last year as well. During that conference he called on NATO generals to work closely with Israel to fight the growing terrorist infrastructure on the high seas.
This past November, Ashkenazi visited Canada where he met his Canadian counterpart, the Chief of the Defense Staff of the Canadian Forces, General Walter Natynczyk.
In this upcoming trip to Brussels, Ashkenazi is scheduled to meet Natynczyk again, as well as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces General Mieczyslaw Cieniuch, Chief of Defense Staff of the UK Armed Forces General Sir David Richards, and Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces General Nikolai Makarov, among many others.
Ashkenazi will also meet for dinner with USEUCOM Commander, Admiral James G. Stavridis.