Press briefing

by the NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu

  • 01 Feb. 2012
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  • Last updated: 02 Feb. 2012 09:39

OANA LUNGESCU (NATO Spokesperson):  So without further ado, I'll start; because we've got a pretty busy schedule tomorrow and on Friday as NATO defence ministers meet here in Brussels.  As usual, we'll provide you with a full schedule of all the events and media opportunities throughout the Ministerial.  I'll give you a couple of details in a few minutes about how the Ministerial will take place and the main moments on Thursday and Friday. 

First, I'd like to introduce Patrick Auroy who is our Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment (DI).  And Patrick will give us a preview of issues related to missile defence; because the ministers will be discussing that over their working dinner tomorrow night. 

And on my right is Ludwig Decamps who's director for Smart Defence, also in the Defence Investment Division.  Ludwig will give us an insight into the evolving discussion among Allies on Smart Defence.  This was first debated at the Ministerial last October.  And as you know, both Smart Defence and Missile Defence will be among the key issues on the agenda for our Chicago Summit in May.  Both of them will be speaking off the record, as a senior NATO official and a NATO official.  And I will be on the record. 

So as I promised, let me run you through the Ministerial agenda starting on Thursday.  The Secretary General will do a doorstep on camera at around 11:45 at NATO main entrance. And then the meeting will be kicking off at 13:00 with a meeting of the 28 Allied defence ministers. 

At that first session, they'll be discussing Afghanistan which of course remains NATO's top operation priority.  The second working session that afternoon will be on Smart Defence and they'll be joined by Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative.  This will be followed immediately by a press conference by the Secretary General around 18:30. 

The working dinner on Thursday evening as I said will focus on missile defence.  As you know, our aim is to declare an interim capability at the Chicago Summit.  So this will be a good opportunity to take stock.

And for the insomniacs among you, let me tell you right now that there won't be any media opportunities after the dinner.  Because for a very good reason, we will be starting quite early on Friday morning.  That is at 8:30.  And the first item on the agenda, on Friday morning, will be the situation in Kosovo, where as you know we saw an increasing tension last year. 

So Allies will be joined by ministers from all our non-NATO KFOR partners, troop contributors and representatives... representative of the European Union who will be Pierre Vimont, the Secretary General of the European External Action Service.  Obviously, that's for a reason; because the EULEX Mission is cooperating very closely with KFOR forces in Kosovo and the EU is facilitating the all important dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. 

The final session of the Defence Ministerial will be again on Afghanistan and that will start at around 10:15 on Friday.  It will include representatives from all the 50 ISAF nations.  All the contributing nations will be joined by the Afghan Defence Minister Wardak, by the Commander of ISAF General John Allen and Ambassador Simon Gass who is NATO senior civilian representative. 

The ministers will take stock of the operational situation of the progress made in transition to Afghan security lead. And I would expect them also to exchange views on what will happen up to 2014 when Afghan forces will take full control of security in Afghanistan and beyond 2014.  So they'll start discussions on the likely sustainable size of the Afghan National Security Forces after 2014; and how this can be funded by the international community. 

And this second working meeting on Friday will be followed by the Secretary General's Press Conference.  And that will be at around 12:50.  So 12:50 on Friday.  So we'll continue then with Patrick Auroy on missile defence and then Ludwig on Smart Defence.  Patrick.