Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

April 12, 2007 17:54 ET

Statement by the Minister of National Defence: ISAF Regional Command South Meets in Quebec City

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 12, 2007) - The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, today released the following statement at the conclusion of the Regional Command South meeting in Quebec City, 11-12 April 2007:

"On 11-12 April 2007, I had the opportunity to host informal discussions with my colleagues from countries with forces in the International Security Assistant Force's (ISAF) Regional Command South in Afghanistan.

Regional Command South is comprised of forces from Canada, Australia, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Romania, the United Kingdom, and the United States. One of five ISAF Regional Commands in Afghanistan, it controls the actions of all ISAF units in the area.

Canada is in Afghanistan at the request of their democratically-elected government, along with 36 other nations, and as part of a UN-sanctioned mission to help build a stable, democratic, and self-sufficient society.

We have made significant progress in strengthening our collective efforts in Southern Afghanistan, supporting the NATO mission, and helping Afghans secure a peaceful and prosperous future. The progress achieved in pushing back the Taliban in Kandahar in recent months has allowed for an acceleration in reconstruction and development projects, and helped to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans.

Our discussions at the meeting focused on creating greater coherence in our collective efforts to provide the security and stability necessary to ensure that terrorism cannot again take root in Afghanistan. We will continue to consult and share lessons learned.

The Afghan people are relying on the international community to help them rebuild their lives and their country after having suffered through decades of instability, oppression and insurgency. Alongside our Allies in other Regional Commands and with the guidance of ISAF headquarters, Canada and Regional Command South contributors are striving to help Afghans.

It was with great sadness that we learned of the deaths of eight Canadian soldiers this week. Their bravery and valour stands in sharp contrast to the cowardly actions of the insurgents. Canada stands shoulder to shoulder with our troops and our allies, unwavering in our commitment to the success of this mission.

We will honour the sacrifice of these brave soldiers by continuing our efforts to build a safe and secure Afghanistan.

By hosting the meeting, Canada has demonstrated its commitment to our Allies and Afghanistan."

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