Defence Ministers meet in Brussels
NATO-Russia Council Chairman, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, giving his opening remarks at the meeting of Defence Ministers, 23 October 2013.
NATO-Russia Council Defence Ministers gathered in Brussels for a meeting, on 23 October 2013. They took the opportunity to take stock of NRC security and defence cooperation, as well as exchange views on some of the most pressing and relevant international security issues, including Afghanistan and the situation in the Middle East.
Key aspects of NRC defence and security cooperation on the Defence Ministers’ agenda included counter terrorism, counter piracy, Afghanistan as well as recent mutual transparency exchanges on military exercises.
Afghanistan remains a key area of cooperation for NRC Defence Ministers to address. The NRC Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund is directly supporting the Afghan Air Force while the NRC Counter Narcotics Training Project has now trained around 3000 counter narcotics officers from Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan. On counter terrorism, the recent NRC Cooperative Airspace Initiative’s live exercise Vigilant Skies involved air traffic controllers and fighter jets from Poland, Russia, Norway and Turkey working together to practise detecting and responding to a hijacked aircraft. NATO and Russian ships at sea in the Gulf of Aden are cooperating against pirate activities, through sharing situation awareness during regular meetings at sea and through joint exercises to develop interoperability.
NRCl Defence Ministers last convened in June 2011, and the 23 October meeting marked the first time that Russian Defence Minister Shoigu has participated in an NRC Defence Ministerial.