Foreign Ministers to focus on support for Turkey, partnerships and Afghanistan
Turkey’s request for NATO to augment its air defence capabilities, cooperation with key partners Russia and Georgia, and progress in the Afghan mission top the agenda at the two-day December NATO Foreign Ministerial which starts on Tuesday.
The Foreign Ministers will discuss a request by Turkey to augment its air defence capabilities in order to defend the population and territory of Turkey. NATO Allies have said that any deployment of Patriot missile batteries to Turkey would be defensive only and would in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will chair a working session of the NATO-Russia Council which will be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The NATO-Russia Council has made significant progress in several areas of cooperation, including counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism and Afghanistan. The Council runs a Helicopter Trust Fund which helps the Afghan Armed Forces to operate their helicopter fleet, as well as a programme to train counter-narcotics officers from Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan.
Foreign Ministers will then consider ways to ensure that NATO's partnerships with coutnries around the world can become even more effective.
Partnerships will continue to be the focus of discussions on Wednesday, during the NATO-Georgia Commission, which will gather all 28 NATO Foreign Ministers for talks with Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze. They are to discuss the foreign policy and reform priorities of Georgia’s new government, including its efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and advance its Euro-Atlantic integration.
The two-day ministerial will conclude with a meeting of all 50 ISAF contributing nations, as well as the Afghan Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, and representatives from international partners such as Japan, the European Union and the United Nations. The ministers will discuss mission progress and look at what financial support the Afghan forces will need after they take over full responsibility for security across the country at the end of 2014 .