Defence Ministers meeting in Budapest
NATO’s ongoing operations and the Alliance's transformation agenda were the focus of informal discussions between Defence Ministers in Budapest, Hungary, on 9 and 10 October.
The meetings started on Thursday 9 October with a session on operations. Allied Ministers joined by 2 invitees (Albania and Croatia) addressed a number of issues, such as ISAF’s support to the development of the Afghan National Army and ways to upgrading ISAF's capabilities, as well as overall security situation. They also met in ISAF format with non-NATO troop contributing nations, Afghan Defence Minister and UN Special Representative in Afghanistan to further discuss challenges facing the international community in Afghanistan, support to the election process and counter-narcotics efforts.
On Friday, the Ministers focused on defence transformation and particularly on the need for NATO to deploy and sustain a larger part of its forces to meet today’s security threats. Discussions covered key elements of this transformation process such as Strategic Airlift Capabilities, Alliance Ground Surveillance, helicopters project and other initiatives that are vital to NATO’s operations.
Later that day, the NATO-Georgia Commission held its first session at ministerial level to discuss political and security cooperation matters.
On the sidelines of the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Hungary's Defence Minister Imre Szekeres attended a ceremony to welcome Hungarian troops returning from Afghanistan.