NATO Defence Ministerial in Brussels
Georgian Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia attended the NATO Defence Ministerial meeting. The North Atlantic Council (NAC) met at the level of defence ministers in Brussels, NATO HQ on June 8-9. Within the framework of the NATO Defence Ministerial, the meeting of the North Atlantic Council has been held in the NATO HQ with non-NATO ISAF contributing Nations. Throughout the meeting, defence ministers dealt with the ways of securing stability in Afghanistan and set out the future plans.
The defence meetings of the NAC at the level of defence ministers were opened by the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He began his opening remarks by paying tribute to the ISAF and Afghan forces that have been killed or injured in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan remains our largest operation and our key operational priority. And we are making progress, in particular in the areas of transition, training, and enabling the Afghans to take the lead,” NATO Secretary General said. According to Rasmussen, the Taliban are under pressure everywhere, including their former strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Secretary General Rasmussen took the opportunity on behalf of the ISAF family to thank outgoing ISAF Commander General David Petraeus for his dedicated service and extraordinary leadership. He thanked the General for showing firm commitment to the Alliance and the ISAF mission.
The 48 NATO and ISAF defence ministers reaffirmed their long-term commitment to Afghanistan which remains NATO’s top operational priority. Ministers were updated on the operational situation from the Commander of ISAF, General David Petraeus, who explained how progress against the insurgency was enabling the transition to Afghans to start leading in seven districts and provinces in July, as planned.
“Transition is based on conditions, not the calendar. But I am confident that we can complete our handover of security to the Afghans by the end of 2014. This does not mean we are heading for the exit. Our commitment to Afghanistan will endure beyond that through our long-term partnership”- said NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. As part of this process, ministers have agreed to work together with the Afghan authorities to define the relationship between NATO-ISAF and Afghanistan after the transition is complete in 2014 and in order to reassure the Afghans of our long-term commitment to their country. This work will help clarify the likely evolution of security-support to Afghanistan for the years to come.
In the framework of the NATO Defence Ministerial, the Georgian defence minister held bilateral meetings with his foreign counterparts. The meeting was held with the Commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) David Petraeus.