7-8 Feb. 2008

Alliance speeds up preparations for
Bucharest summit

NATO Defence Ministers discussed in Vilnius on 8 February, how the Alliance can make progress between now and the Bucharest Summit in a number of areas important to ensuring security in the 21st century.

Ministers agreed that NATO should have a substantial policy on cyber defence outlining the Alliance’s role in that field and reaffirmed the high value of the NATO Response Force (NRF), now that a graduated Force option has been developed.

They also referred to missile defence, where NATO continues to explore the Alliance’s role, taking into account the separate bilateral discussions between the US and some Allies. The new security challenges, such as maritime situational awareness and cyber defence will be high on the agenda of the Bucharest Summit next April.

Afghanistan: More coordination is needed

Allied ministers also met today with non-NATO ISAF contributing nations, the UN, the EU, the World Bank and Afghan Defence Minister Wardak.

They expressed cautious optimism on progress achieved in Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development, and agreed that there is a need for more coordination. 

The NATO Secretary General stressed the fact that there must be a comprehensive effort of the international community in Afghanistan and that the Alliance is only in the lead when it comes to security, but stands ready to support wherever it can other international actors.

Minister Wardak heard commitments by his ISAF colleagues to step up efforts to train and equip the Afghan security forces, as well as a clear long-term commitment to support Afghanistan.   

Minister Wardak expressed his strong commitment to work towards a situation in which Afghan forces can take the lead in operations, with NATO forces in support.