Opening remarks at the pre-ministerial briefing
by the NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu
It is good to see so many of you here. Thanks for coming. I hope you can all find decent seats. Just before I get into the actual briefing, and because I know that some of you are taking photos, please don’t use any photos of our briefers. Don’t Tweet them. Don’t put them on your Facebook page. Don’t put them in your stories, because this will be a background briefing from our senior briefers who I am very happy to see next to me. I will be, as usual, on the record, but I am the only person on the record. So, our two briefers, please use them on background as senior NATO Official as usual.
So, just to kick off. This will be, of course, our last Ministerial this year, but it is also the first Ministerial since the announcement of the NATO Summit in South Wales in early September, so obviously, this meeting will be very much geared towards shaping the agenda of that Summit.
We’ll begin with the Secretary General’s doorstep at the NATO Main entrance at 13h00 tomorrow. Then the first meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Foreign Ministers format will start at 14h00. You will be able to follow, as usual, the public opening remarks of the Secretary General on the TV monitors here. And those of you who will be in the media pool, of course, will be in the Council Room. The focus will be on Ministers discussing the overall themes for the Summit and the objectives. I would expect that the heading will be very much “Future NATO”, how we can learn from the past decade of operations and partnerships to look to the future.
The family photograph of Foreign Ministers will take place just after 16h00 and then Ministers will continue with their second working session until around 18h30 and that will be looking at partnerships. How to maintain political and operational connections with our partners. EU High Representative, Cathy Ashton, has been invited to this session, and EU Representatives have also been invited to the ISAF meeting the next day.
Just after 18h30 on Tuesday you can expect a briefing from the Secretary General next door in the Luns Theatre, and then Foreign Ministers will continue with a Working Dinner.
Wednesday will be a busy day and an early start. NATO-Russia Council starting at 08h30. We’ve seen progress in our practical cooperation in 2013 so this will be an opportunity to exchange views with Minister Lavrov on what more we can do in 2014 and to also discuss issues of mutual concern, such as Syria.
At around 10h00 you can expect a short press briefing by the Secretary General as Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council. And then Ministers will continue in ISAF format from 10h30, again with Public opening remarks by the Secretary General. The Afghan Interior Minister and the acting Afghan Foreign Minister have been invited. And so have the United Nations and EU High level representatives. And the Japanese Foreign Minister has also been invited in view of Japan’s major contribution in support of the Afghan National Security Forces.
The Secretary General will then brief on the meeting at around 12h35.
We will continue with the NATO-Georgia Commission, where the Georgian Foreign Minister will be coming. Obviously a good opportunity to touch base after Georgia’s Presidential elections.
You will have perhaps a very short time to get a quick bite on Wednesday, just before the Secretary General’s final press conference at around 14h20.
And with that, I will pass over to the more substantial briefings.