by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council with Resolute Support operational partner nations at the level of NATO Defence Ministers
We have just concluded a very constructive meeting with our Resolute Support partners.
We were joined by Afghanistan’s Minister of Defence Bahramee.
Together, we addressed the security situation in the country. NATO’s continued support for Afghanistan. And the peace process.
NATO Allies and partners aren’t just maintaining their contributions to our Resolute Support mission.
They are increasing them.
Based on our discussions today, I am confident that we will agree to extend funding to the Afghan Security Forces to 2024 at next month’s Summit.
A strong signal of our long-term commitment to Afghanistan’s security. Significant challenges remain. Insurgents continue to use violence against innocent civilians. But in the face of these challenges, Afghan forces are doing an outstanding job. They have been in the lead for three years now. And we see the real progress in their ability to conduct offensive operations. To develop their Special Forces, Air Force and other capabilities. And to deny the Taliban their strategic objectives.
Our aim is to strengthen the Afghan security forces so they can create the conditions for a peaceful solution. An Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is essential to a long-term, inclusive political settlement.
President Ghani has made a bold proposal for peace talks.
And NATO will continue to do all we can to support that process.
Elections in October will be an important milestone.
And we encourage the Afghan government to continue along the path of reform.
To maintain its fight against corruption.
And to uphold the human rights of all Afghans. We also stressed the need for all countries in the region to play a constructive role. Over the last two days, ministers have paved the way towards the NATO Summit next month. Taking substantial decisions on deterrence and defence, on projecting stability and fighting terrorism, and on cooperation with the European Union.
This meeting has shown NATO’s unity despite any differences or issues such as trade, we continue to stand united around our core task. So I think we once again show that despite disagreements on issues like trade or the Iran nuclear deal, NATO is able to stand united around our core task to protect and defend each other.
And, with that, I’m ready to take your questions.