|Updated: 16-nov-06||NATO IMS Press Releases|
16 Nov. 2006
NATO’s highest military body concludes meetings in Brussels in the lead up to the Riga Summit
Brussels – NATO’s Chiefs of Defence wrapped up two days of formal meetings at Alliance Headquarters to shape and confirm the Military Committee’s consensus-based advice that will inform military-related discussions at the Riga Summit.
“Clearly the NATO operation in Afghanistan was prominent in our agenda and discussions,” said General Ray Henault, the Chairman of the Military Committee and the Alliance’s top officer.
“It remains our collective assessment that NATO’s robust military presence in Afghanistan – more than 30,000 troops from 37 NATO and Partner countries – to deter, disrupt and defeat opposing militant forces, is helping to set the conditions for more reconstruction and development. We are also of common purpose respecting our long-term commitment to Afghanistan, and to the end state. The Chiefs of Defence reinforced that Alliance solidarity in ISAF is essential.
Many national development indicators are positive, they continue to show an upward trend and this is very encouraging to us and to the Afghans. Our 24 Provincial Reconstruction Teams throughout the country are helping facilitate progress, but the challenge for NATO and for the international community remains significant. We encourage a more coherent and more coordinated approach to reconstruction and development by the international community,” he said.
“We have made some headway on force generation and reducing national caveats, but the case was strongly put that we can do better. There remain shortfalls in the personnel and equipment requirements for Afghanistan, which nations have committed to trying to resolve. Nations are clearly seized of this issue and the need to satisfy operation requirements.”
“We discussed how to continue building capability into the NATO Response Force and sustaining it over the long term. And, we assessed the military implications of the new Ministerial Guidance, which sets out the political level of ambition for NATO’s military forces. We also reviewed work on transformational initiatives including special operating forces, and NATO training activities with non-NATO nations.”
The NATO Chiefs of Defence also met with their counterparts from NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Committee (EAPC), where the need to enhance interoperability through training and NATO exercises was endorsed. Separate meetings with the Chief of Defence from Ukraine and with Russia led to agreement on expanding respective cooperation activities by approving military work plans for the coming year.
Military aspects of combating terrorism, including intelligence sharing with NATO’s seven Mediterranean Dialogue countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia were discussed. Elements of the exercise and operations programmes were reviewed.