Secretary General says NATO is ''sincere friend of Ukraine'', discusses Afghanistan planning
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called on all parties in Ukraine to engage in an inclusive political dialogue which respects democratic values. Before the start of a two-day Defence Ministerial on Wednesday (26 February 2014), Mr Fogh Rasmussen said: "We are encouraged that violence has been stopped through negotiations. As Ukraine goes forward, an inclusive political dialogue, which respects democratic values, is key." Stressing that NATO respects the sovereign choices of the Ukrainian people, the Secretary General said, "Ukraine is a close and long-standing partner to NATO and NATO is a sincere friend of Ukraine. We stand ready to continue assisting Ukraine in its democratic reforms."
Ministers will discuss the situation and engage with Ukrainian officials in a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. NATO’s defence capabilities and the mission in Afghanistan are also top of the agenda at the ministerial which will help prepare the NATO Summit in Wales in September. “Stronger partnerships will be an important theme at our summit in Wales in September and so will stronger capabilities. Both will make our Alliance ready to deal with the security challenges we face,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.
NATO defence ministers together with ISAF and Afghan partners will discuss the progress of the ISAF mission and planning for a mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces after 2014. Mr Fogh Rasmusses said: “We all know the facts. If the Bilateral Security Agreement between the United States and Afghanistan is not signed, there will be no NATO Status of Forces Agreement with Afghanistan. If there is no agreement, there will be no NATO troops in Afghanistan after 2014. Let me stress: this is not our preferred option, but these are the facts that we need to take into account in our planning. And that is what we will discuss at our meeting.”