During a visit to Bern on 5 July, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer invited NATO partner country Switzerland to contribute to the expansion of the Alliance’s presence in Afghanistan.
The Secretary General discussed the results of NATO’s Istanbul Summit in meetings with the President of the Swiss Confederation, Joseph Deiss, Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, Defence Minister Samuel Schmid and members of the Swiss Parliament.
Working together for security
At the Summit, NATO and partner countries agreed to further strengthen cooperation. The Alliance also announced a new expansion of its presence in Afghanistan. Switzerland and a number of other partner countries are contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Speaking to reporters, the Secretary General said he encouraged partner countries to boost their engagement in Afghanistan by contributing to the five provincial reconstruction teams NATO will be operating in the north of the country.
Mr. De Hoop Scheffer also mentioned the possibility of Switzerland contributing to NATO’s assistance to the government of Iraq with the training of its security forces, which was also agreed at the Summit.
He praised Switzerland for its contribution to NATO’s Partnership for Peace, including support for Trust Fund projects to assist other partner countries in destroying weapons and munitions stockpiles.
The Secretary General also welcomed the recently launched reform of the Swiss armed forces, saying that making them more flexible and interoperable would put Switzerland on the right track for contributing to international security through co-operation.