Remarks by the NATO Spokesperson
at the Pre-Ministerial Briefing
Hello. Good morning.
Thank you very much for coming. Very happy to see people coming from as far Kabul and Washington and Moscow and Kiev. We will have to finish on time because there will be another briefing, so I will just kick off, as usual, setting out the “rules of the game” as it were.
I will be on the record, as usual; my colleague here as a “senior NATO official” can be quoted only on background.
So let me just kick off with a couple of pointers about the timetable. This obviously is a meeting where collective defence, as well as preparations for the NATO Wales summit, and preparations for the completion of the ISAF mission and the launch of our next mission for Afghanistan, Resolute Support, will be in the spotlight.
The Ministers will also meet their Ukrainian and their Georgian counterparts and this is, of course the first meeting of Defence Ministers since the start of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and it’s the last Defence Ministerial before the Wales Summit in September.
We will begin with the Secretary General’s Doorstep at the NATO main entrance at 11h15 tomorrow. Then the first meeting of the North Atlantic Council at 28 will start at noon, 12h00. And the focus will be reviewing the immediate measures to enhance collective defence that were taken after the start of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and looking at the longer term implications of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
You will be able as usual, to see the Secretary General’s public opening remarks and you will have them on the TV monitors in the press area.
At 14h40, we will have the usual family photo of the Defence Ministers. And then we will proceed to a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. There will be a discussion, I would expect, on the security situation in Ukraine, priorities for defence cooperation between NATO and Ukraine and, of course, this comes only days after the Presidential elections in Ukraine, so I would expect Ministers to congratulate the Ukrainian people for the conduct of the elections.
There will then be a second working meeting of the 28 NATO Defence Ministers at 17h00, and then the Press Conference of the Secretary General will take place at 18h45 in this very room.
The 1st day of the Ministerial will continue with a working dinner also focusing on the long-term implications of the crisis.
And on Wednesday, they will start with a NATO-Georgia Commission at 09h00. There will be a discussion with the Georgian Defence Minister of how the country has taken forward defence reforms and also look at our cooperation with Georgia, which of course is a long-standing partner to NATO.
The meeting in ISAF format will then start at 11 o’clock. We will have around the table not just the ISAF Ministers, the countries that participate with troops to ISAF, but also the Afghan Defence Minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, has also been invited as well as the United Nations’ Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Jan Kubis.
So I would expect a discussion on the current security situation in Afghanistan, preparations to complete the ISAF mission and the status of planning of NATO’s non-combat operation after 2014 to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.
There will be, of course, also a discussion on the political transition in Afghanistan, and looking forward to the second round of the Presidential elections in the country.
And the final press conference of the Secretary General will take place at 13h15 also here in this very room, and this is the general overview of what you can expect over the next two rather busy days, so I will then pass on to my colleague.
As I said what I have said until now is on the record. From now on, my colleague will be briefing on background.