Australien/NATO — Minister for Defence attending NATO Ministers’ meeting in Brussels

Min­is­ter for Defence, Sen­a­tor John Faulkn­er, is in Brus­sels to attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organ­i­sa­tion (NATO) Defence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing.

Sen­a­tor Faulkn­er said the meet­ing was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss progress in Afghanistan with NATO and non-NATO Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) con­tribut­ing nations. “Aus­tralia remains com­mit­ted to the ISAF mis­sion. We strong­ly sup­port ISAF’s inte­grat­ed civil­ian mil­i­tary approach, and the enhanced civil­ian con­tri­bu­tion that the Prime Min­is­ter announced in April will ensure that our com­mit­ment is aligned with these efforts,” Sen­a­tor Faulkn­er said.

“Much work lies ahead, but there are promis­ing signs of progress in Afghanistan and Aus­tralia is mak­ing a major con­tri­bu­tion to the inter­na­tion­al effort there.”

Sen­a­tor Faulkn­er is also hold­ing bilat­er­al dis­cus­sions with a num­ber of part­ner nations.

Of the 46 ISAF nations, Aus­tralia is the 10th largest con­trib­u­tor, and is the largest non-NATO troop con­tribut­ing nation.

Sen­a­tor Faulkn­er said Aus­tralia con­tin­ues to sup­port the main effort in the south through train­ing and men­tor­ing the Afghan Nation­al Army 4th Brigade in Oruz­gan.

“Aus­tralia is also con­tribut­ing to the broad­er region­al cam­paign with our Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group, Rotary Wing Group, Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance and Recon­nais­sance assets, strate­gic lift air­craft and per­son­nel embed­ded through­out ISAF head­quar­ters,” Sen­a­tor Faulkn­er said.

“It is impor­tant for coali­tion part­ners to meet and dis­cuss the best way for­ward for Afghanistan. I look for­ward to meet­ing with col­leagues to dis­cuss this crit­i­cal issue.” Sen­a­tor Faulkn­er will be accom­pa­nied by the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton and Sec­re­tary of Defence, Dr Ian Watt.

Media con­tacts:
Michael Nguyen (John Faulkn­er): 02 6277 7800 or 0429 571 843
Defence Media Liai­son: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

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