Australia — Meeting with NATO Deputy Secretary-General

Today I met the NATO Deputy Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al, His Excel­len­cy Ambas­sador Clau­dio Bisog­niero.
Ambas­sador Bisog­niero is vis­it­ing Aus­tralia from 5–8 Feb­ru­ary to dis­cuss strength­en­ing the strate­gic part­ner­ship between Aus­tralia and NATO and increas­ing prac­ti­cal coop­er­a­tion between Aus­tralia and NATO on new and emerg­ing secu­ri­ty chal­lenges.

Aus­tralia is the largest non-NATO con­trib­u­tor to Afghanistan and a key con­trib­u­tor to the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF).

Australia’s com­mit­ment in Afghanistan is focused on train­ing and men­tor­ing the Afghan Nation­al Army 4th Brigade in Uruz­gan Province to assume respon­si­bil­i­ty for the Province’s secu­ri­ty. In addi­tion, the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group oper­ates to dis­rupt insur­gent oper­a­tions and sup­ply routes.

Ambas­sador Bisog­niero thanked Aus­tralia for its lead­er­ship and out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the ISAF in Afghanistan. He also offered his con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the 22 Aus­tralian sol­diers killed in Afghanistan.

Aus­tralia and NATO have strong rea­sons to coop­er­ate togeth­er beyond Afghanistan.

The chal­lenges of cyber secu­ri­ty, inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism, nuclear pro­lif­er­a­tion and mar­itime secu­ri­ty are endur­ing and reach beyond both Aus­tralia and Europe’s imme­di­ate region. Ambas­sador Bisogniero’s vis­it close­ly fol­lows the release at the Lis­bon Sum­mit in Novem­ber 2010 of the new NATO Strate­gic Con­cept, which out­lined NATO’s inter­ests in broad­en­ing its role in glob­al secu­ri­ty, and iden­ti­fies new and fun­da­men­tal secu­ri­ty tasks required of NATO.

Aus­tralia wel­comes NATO’s acknowl­edge­ment in its Strate­gic Con­cept of the impor­tance of work­ing with part­ners such as us. With the launch of the Strate­gic Con­cept, there is now a sol­id basis for greater involve­ment of part­ners in NATO’s activ­i­ties.

NATO-Aus­tralia work­ing rela­tions are already close, with Australia’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in a range of NATO work­ing groups in areas such as mil­i­tary logis­tics, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and infor­ma­tion sys­tems. Aus­tralia also has sub­stan­tial bilat­er­al defence rela­tion­ships with key NATO allies, includ­ing the Unit­ed States, Unit­ed King­dom, Cana­da, France, Ger­many and Spain.

Yes­ter­day, Ambas­sador Bisog­niero met with the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton, and the Sec­re­tary of Defence, Dr Ian Watt.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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