Allied Defence Ministers to gather at NATO Headquarters
NATO Defence Ministers will come to Brussels on 11-12 June, for their first formal meeting after the Strasbourg/Kehl Summit. They will discuss key challenges related to NATO’s operations, particularly Afghanistan and Kosovo, and the Alliance’s defence transformation efforts.
The meeting will start on Thursday with a working lunch devoted to Kosovo and counter-piracy issues. Ministers will assess the security situation in Kosovo and KFOR’s evolving contribution to a safe and secure environment, on the basis of UN Security Council resolution 1244. They will also discuss NATO’s potential long term role in countering piracy, off the coast of Somalia, as the current counter-piracy Operation Allied Protector comes to an end on 28 June.
The Secretary General will then hold a press conference, before opening the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). The main topic of discussions will focus on enhancement of inter-operability between the 28 NATO members and 22 EAPC Partner countries.
Later in the afternoon, the meeting of the Defence Planning Committee (DPC) will welcome three new participants: Albania and Croatia as new NATO members will take their seats at the table for their first Defence Ministers meeting in DPC format, and French Defence Minister Hervé Morin will represent France at the DPC for the first time since its decision to take its full place again in NATO’s military structure. DPC will focus on defence planning mechanisms and analysis of the implication of the financial crisis for defence priorities.
Over a working dinner, Ministers will discuss a range of transformation issues, including the future shape and mission of the NATO Response Force (NRF).
The meeting on Friday 12 June will open with a session of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on defence transformation where Defence Ministers will discuss a whole range of issues which have a bearing on capabilities needed to confront current and future security challenges. Such topics as strategic lift, helicopters initiative, cyber defence, Allied Ground Surveillance (AGS) project, Defence Against Terrorism programme and HQ Reform will undoubtedly feature on the agenda.
The meeting will be followed by an unveiling ceremony with Troop Contributing Partners in honour of those fallen in NATO operations, to take place in the Cour d’Honneur of NATO Headquarters.
The last session will bring together Allied Ministers with their non-NATO ISAF contributors partners. Afghan Defence Minister Wardak and representatives of international organisations present in Afghanistan will also attend.
Ministers will first assess progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Strategic Political-Military Plan, and discuss the provision of election support forces .
Another important topic of discussions will be the implementation of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, an initiative to enhance international support for the Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National Army (ANA), which was launched at the April Summit. Associated with this training effort is the need for financial contributions to the ANA Trust Fund, including international assistance for the long-term sustainment costs of the Afghan National Security Forces.
Regarding NATO's enhanced counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan Ministers will highlight the substantial progress being made to interdict the narcotics industry which supports the insurgency in Afghanistan.
After this meeting NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will hold a final press conference.