by the NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu at the Press Briefing held at NATO HQ on 16 October 2013
Good afternoon. Obviously this is the first meeting of Defence Ministers since the announcement of a NATO summit next year in the UK, so this meeting will be a first step on the road to that summit. The good news is we have no less than three senior briefers here. The slightly less good news is that we don’t have a lot of time, so we’ll have to group the questions as much as possible after their initial statements. All three will be off the record. Please attribute anything they say to a “Senior NATO official”. I will be, as usual, on the record.
Just to kick us off with a few words on the timings. On Tuesday October 22nd, the Secretary General will be doing a doorstep at the NATO main entrance at around 11h30.
The first working session at 28 will start at 14h30 with public opening remarks by the Secretary General. The theme will be capabilities, with a focus on cyber defence, missile defence and NATO reforms writ large.
You will then have the family photo at 17h10.
The second working session will be an opportunity to assess work on the Connected Forces Initiative, training, education, exercises, and NATO’s exercise programme after the completion of ISAF at the end of 2014. As in the past, EU High Representative Cathy Ashton has been invited to both sessions.
Over dinner, ministers are expected to assess planning for our post-2014 mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan Security Forces and that is going to be part of a bigger discussion on the main themes of next year’s summit. And we’re not planning any briefing after that dinner.
On Wednesday October 23rd, however, we will be kicking off fairly early at 08h45 with the NATO Russia Council, and that will be the first opportunity for NATO defence ministers to meet their counterpart Sergey Shoigu. It will be an opportunity to build on the positive practical cooperation and military and defence cooperation so far and also, I would expect that they will be discussing current international security issues.
The Secretary General, who of course, is the Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council, will be making a brief press point thereafter, at around 10h40.
And at 11h15, we will continue with the final session – that is meeting with ISAF partners. They will be reviewing the state of transition, progress of the ANSF. And they will be joined by Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, the EU high representative, Cathy Ashton and the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Jan Kubis. The Secretary General will make public opening remarks at the start of each session. And he will be concluding the ministerial with a press conference at 14h00.
Now we’ll go to the off-the-record briefing on the substance.