Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

November 21, 2008 16:21 ET

Statement by the Minister of National Defence at the Conclusion of the ISAF Regional Command South Meetings in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia

CORNWALLIS, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 21, 2008) - The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, today released the following statement at the conclusion of the Regional Command South meetings in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia:

"On November 20 and 21, 2008, I had the opportunity to host informal discussions with my colleagues from countries with forces that are part of the International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF) Regional Command South in Afghanistan.

During our session we discussed several issues pertaining to the military mission in Southern Afghanistan, including the successful training and development of the Afghan National Security Forces, coordinating counter-insurgency efforts, and managing and improving regional dynamics.

Canada and its RC South partners are in Afghanistan at the request of its democratically-elected government, along with 40 other nations, and as part of a UN-sanctioned mission to help build a stable, democratic, and self-sufficient society.

Afghanistan remains NATO's number one priority. This is not an operation of choice, it is one of necessity. We are in Afghanistan for the long term under a United Nations mandate for as long as we are needed and welcomed by the Afghan people.

After suffering through decades of instability, oppression and insurgency, the Afghan people are working with the international community to help them pave the way forward for a peaceful and more prosperous future. Alongside our Allies in other Regional Commands, and with the guidance of ISAF Headquarters, Canada and Regional Command South contributors are striving to create a secure and stable environment for the democratically elected government of Afghanistan and its people."

Note to editors: Regional Command South is comprised of forces from Canada, Australia, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Romania, United Kingdom, and the United States. One of five ISAF Regional Commands in Afghanistan, it controls the actions of all ISAF units in the south of the country.

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