Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

June 13, 2008 16:12 ET

Minister of National Defence Concludes NATO Defence Ministers' Meeting in Brussels

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 13, 2008) - The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, has concluded his meetings with fellow NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels, June 12-13, 2008, on NATO operations, transformation and defence planning.

"The discussions in Brussels built on some of the more defence-focussed decisions that our Heads of State and Government made in Bucharest," stated Minister MacKay. "Allies were receptive to the actions Canada is taking to further its contributions to NATO. I discussed the Canada First Defence Strategy and the recent announcements that outline clear priorities for Canada's future in Afghanistan between now and 2011. As for the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, discussions included developments in training of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police."

Minister MacKay also met personally with some of his NATO counterparts. He emphasized Canada's priorities for Afghanistan, highlighted three "signature projects" related to Canada's future engagement in that country, and reiterated his confidence that Canada's new direction will ensure a measurable improvement in the lives of citizens of Kandahar between now and 2011.

This is the first in a series of ministerial meetings leading up to the 2009, 60th Anniversary NATO Summit in Strasbourg/Kehl. Ministers also discussed NATO's two largest ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, with the latter discussion including Ministers from non-NATO countries that are contributing forces to NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR). Talks were also held with the NATO-Russia Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission.

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