Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

June 12, 2009 11:47 ET

The Minister of National Defence Attends NATO Formal Defence Ministers' Meeting in Brussels

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 12, 2009) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, today attended the final session of the NATO Defence Ministerial meeting in Brussels, Belgium, following a successful meeting in the Netherlands of Defence Ministers for the International Security Assistance Force, Regional Command (South) (ISAF RC(S)).

"These meetings provide excellent opportunities to strengthen our relationships with our NATO allies and discuss security issues of common concern," said Minister MacKay. "We focused on a number of ongoing international security challenges such as the potential for a continuing role for NATO in counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia as well as the security situation in Kosovo."

Of particular interest to Canada during the NATO meeting, as well as at the ISAF RC(S) meeting, was the discussion on Afghanistan and the ongoing need for training and mentoring of the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Afghan National Army (ANA). Canada remains committed to providing the support necessary to ensure Afghans, through the ANP and the ANA, have the capacity, training, and capability to assume responsibility for their own security.

Also discussed was the influx of considerable US military and civilian resources in southern Afghanistan in the coming months, as well as the Command Structure for ISAF. Canada welcomes additional forces from contributing partners to this UN-mandated, NATO-led mission.

The next NATO Defence Ministerial meeting will take place in Bratislava, Slovakia, from 22-23 October 2009.

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