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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