|Last update: 16-Dec-2004 10:38||NATO Update|
Foreign Ministers agree
Meeting in Brussels on 9 December, Foreign Ministers of the 26 NATO countries agreed to move ahead with expanding NATO’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan and to maintain its commitment to the Balkans.
The meeting reflected “a strong transatlantic consensus” on the key issues on the Alliance’s agenda, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters.
This was the first meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers following the Alliance’s Istanbul Summit in June. It provided an opportunity for Ministers to review progress in implementing the decisions made by Heads of State and Government at the Summit.
Delivering on commitments
The Alliance currently is preparing to expand the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The so-called ‘phase 2’ expansion will see NATO deploying Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) to the West of the country.
Foreign Ministers also gave the formal go-ahead for the expansion of NATO’s training assistance to Iraq. The Alliance’s mission in Iraq will be now increased to around 300 personnel, including trainers and support staff, and will step up the ongoing training and mentoring of senior level Iraqi security forces.
The Ministers pledged to continue maintain a robust NATO presence in Kosovo, recognizing that “the security environment remains fragile”.
The meeting, held on 8 and 9 December at NATO Headquaerters, saw also
the first Ministerial-level meeting with countries from NATO’s Mediterranean
Dialogue and new decisions between NATO and Russia on combating terrorism.