Minister for Defence Stephen Smith on NATO/ISAF Meeting

Vis­it to Lon­don and NATO/ ISAF Defence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing in Brus­sels
I will vis­it Lon­don and Brus­sels from Tues­day 8 to Thurs­day 10 March to meet Unit­ed King­dom (UK) Sec­re­tary of State for Defence Liam Fox and join my North Atlantic Treaty Organ­i­sa­tion (NATO) and Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) Defence Min­is­te­r­i­al col­leagues for the NATO/ ISAF Defence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing on Afghanistan.
In Lon­don I will dis­cuss with Dr Fox Aus­tralia-UK Defence and Secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion, fol­low­ing on from our dis­cus­sion of joint inter­ests and ini­tia­tives dur­ing the Aus­tralia-UK Min­is­te­r­i­al Con­sul­ta­tions (AUKMIN) in Syd­ney in Jan­u­ary.

I will fur­ther pur­sue with Dr Fox the prospect of Aus­tralia leas­ing or pur­chas­ing a Bay Class amphibi­ous ves­sel from the UK.

The NATO/ ISAF Defence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing in Brus­sels, fol­low­ing on from the NATO/ ISAF Lead­ers’ Sum­mit in Lis­bon in Novem­ber last year, is an impor­tant oppor­tu­ni­ty for Aus­tralia to engage with inter­na­tion­al part­ners on Afghanistan.

Defence Min­is­ters will take for­ward the dis­cus­sion at the Lead­ers’ Sum­mit in Lis­bon on tran­si­tion­ing secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ty to the Afghan author­i­ties by the end of 2014.

Aus­tralia is com­mit­ted to men­tor­ing and train­ing the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces in Uruz­gan Province to enable them to take on respon­si­bil­i­ty for secu­ri­ty arrange­ments in the province over the next one to three years.

This is an impor­tant Aus­tralian con­tri­bu­tion to effect­ing a con­di­tions-based tran­si­tion to Afghan-led secu­ri­ty across Afghanistan.

Defence Min­is­ters will also dis­cuss longer-term inter­na­tion­al com­mit­ment to sup­port Afghanistan, includ­ing through capac­i­ty build­ing for the Afghan author­i­ties and insti­tu­tions.

The NATO/ ISAF Defence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing will also be an oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss with Defence Min­is­te­r­i­al col­leagues the inter­na­tion­al response to the con­tin­u­ing ter­ri­ble vio­lence in Libya.

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

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