The newly appointed American Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, had invited Danish Minister of Defence, Gitte Lillelund Bech, to Washington. The Danish minister of defence is thus the second European minister of defence to visit Secretary of Defense Panetta at the Pentagon. The meeting confirmed the close bonds between the USA and Denmark.

“Today’s meeting demonstrates that the USA and Denmark are fond friends and close allies. It was a pleasure to meet with the new American secretary of defense. The USA and Denmark, and thus Secretary of Defense Panetta and I, share a common view on many issues. The meeting today therefore presented an excellent opportunity to get to know each other better. Not least, we had the opportunity to discuss the defence and security policy challenges facing both of our countries in the future”, Gitte Lillelund Bech states.

At the meeting, the two defence ministers discussed a range of current issues, such as the operations in Afghanistan and Libya. The way ahead towards the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago 2012 was also on the agenda.

“I am especially pleased that Secretary of Defense Panetta expressed great recognition and respect for the effort of the Danish armed forces in international operations. I look forward to continuing my dialogue with Secretary of Defense Panetta in Denmark at a later time”, Gitte Lillelund Bech concludes.