Ministers will take stock of the Alliance’s operation in Libya in light of NATO’s readiness to continue the operation for as long as necessary in order to fulfil the United Nations mandate to protect the civilian population. Ministers will also hold meetings with contributing partners to the Alliance’s operations in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. On Afghanistan, Ministers will discuss progress and look at the transition process of handing over the responsibility for security to Afghan forces.
“Operation Unified Protector has done what we said it would do. We have kept our commitment to the United Nations, to the region and to the Libyan people.”, the Secretary General said. “We will also meet with our ISAF partners to discuss progress in Afghanistan, because there's been significant progress since our last meeting. Transition is fully on track and we will not allow insurgents to derail it.”
Smart Defence is about building security for less money by working together and being more flexible. This requires identifying those areas in which NATO allies need to keep investing. Allies will also discuss resources and capabilities against the background of financial constraints and look at how to acquire and maintain key capabilities by prioritising, specialising and seeking multinational solutions.
“As far as Smart Defence is concerned, at the Defence Ministers' meeting we will discuss a report from our Allied Command Transformation. We will not make concrete decisions on concrete projects at this meeting, but we will ensure that work can continue with a view to the Chicago summit in May”, the Secretary General said. “I think the economic realities will move this agenda forward, because in the future it will simply not be possible from an economic point of view for all allies to have all military assets at their disposal. The only way forward is to cooperate and specialise.”