Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

March 16, 2008 16:21 ET

Minister of National Defence Discusses Afghanistan at the 2008 Brussels Forum

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 16, 2008) - The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has concluded his participation in the 2008 Brussels Forum in Brussels, Belgium where he discussed Canada's role in Afghanistan. Minister MacKay was among several influential political, corporate, and intellectual leaders from around the world addressing pressing challenges, such as conflict regions, economics and foreign policy at a two-day public meeting.

"Canada is playing a leading role in the United Nations-mandated NATO mission to Afghanistan," said Minister MacKay during his panel discussion on Canada's mission in Afghanistan. "Our Allies recognize our value as a responsible partner in this mission." He added, "the findings of the Manley Panel have been well received by our Allies and they are aware of the need for further commitments by NATO forces."

With a commitment of $1.3 billion until 2011 for development and reconstruction, Canada is among the world's top five donors to Afghanistan and a leading contributor in education. With the help of the Canadian Forces, Canada is helping improve security, promote good governance, enable reconstruction, and facilitate development and reconstruction projects. These efforts are in keeping with Canada's commitment to our foreign policy values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

"Rebuilding Afghanistan after decades of war is a long-term undertaking that requires perseverance and commitment," said Minister MacKay. "Challenges remain, yet real progress is being achieved in partnership with the international community and the Afghan people themselves and is improving the lives of millions of Afghan men, women and children."

The cooperation of international partners is essential for the success of the mission and for the establishment of strong central Government in Afghanistan.

Notes for news and assignment editors: For more information on Brussels Forum 2008, please visit: http://www.gmfus.org/brusselsforum/template/index.cfm?CFID=40967750&CFTOKEN=43146658

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