Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

March 11, 2011 15:05 ET

Defence Minister Attends NATO Ministerial

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 11, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, participated in a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defence Ministers on March 10-11, in Brussels, Belgium. While the meeting covered a range of issues, the crisis in Libya was the central focus.

"Since the crisis began in Libya, Canada has been actively engaged in responding to requests for evacuation and for humanitarian assistance," said Minister MacKay. "Canada has also emphasized the importance of NATO planning, so the Alliance can stand ready to respond to humanitarian crises as required."

Minister MacKay informed Canada's allies that Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown is joining the NATO Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, patrolling the Mediterranean Sea in response to the crisis in Libya. The ships of NATO and other like-minded nations will be monitoring shipping and providing a maritime presence during this time of ongoing instability in North Africa.

"Canada is standing with our allies to monitor the current situation in North Africa and will keep working with our allies as the situation continues to develop," said Minister MacKay. "The versatility of HMCS Charlottetown and her crew allows Canada to be ready at a moment's notice to carry out humanitarian missions and whatever mandate the international community calls for."

While in Brussels, Minister MacKay and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates also took the opportunity to sign a joint Statement of Principles for a Space Situational Awareness Partnership, building on the long history of close defence cooperation between the two countries.

During the meeting, allies also discussed the implementation of the new Strategic Concept and key outcomes from the NATO Lisbon Summit held last November. Other topics included how to maximize investment in defence capabilities in a time of economic restraint and the transition of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

The next meeting of NATO Defence Ministers will take place in Brussels in June 2011.

Contact Information