Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

October 23, 2013 14:00 ET

Minister Nicholson Participates in His First NATO Defence Ministerial Meeting in Brussels

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM--(Marketwired - Oct. 23, 2013) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of National Defence, attended his first meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defence ministers, which took place on October 22 and 23, 2013, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

"I was pleased to meet with my NATO counterparts for the first time and discuss important issues for Canada," said Minister Nicholson. "NATO is important to Canada's national interests and the Alliance continues to make progress on its transformation and reform agendas, leading to improvements to its flexibility, efficiency and processes for the benefit of all allies."

Discussions focused on the NATO reform agenda, capabilities, the training and exercises program, as well as operations, including NATO's mission in Afghanistan. The NATO Russia Council also met to discuss how to further advance transparency and cooperation between NATO and Russia.

In addition to the NATO meetings, Minister Nicholson also took the opportunity to meet with many of his counterparts, including Australian Defence Minister David Johnston, United Kingdom Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

After 2014, NATO is expected to shift its emphasis from operational engagement to operational preparedness. This means NATO will leverage a post-Afghanistan context to fully assimilate its lessons learned and situate its forces to be ready to respond to future contingencies.

Canada remains at the forefront of efforts to transform and reform the Alliance into a fit-for-purpose, political-military hub that enables allies and non-NATO partners to address current and future security challenges. The NATO Defence Ministerial meeting provides the necessary platform for Canada to engage in these NATO reform initiatives and confirm our support to our partners and allies.

For more information, please consult the following Backgrounder on Canada and NATO.

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