At the meeting of NATO foreign and defence ministers in Brussels today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet announced that at the Chicago summit NATO is turning over a new leaf in its ISAF operations. “At present, the most crucial issue is ensuring the permanent development and functioning of the Afghan security forces,” Paet noted. “To date, the security forces have made progress as expected. It is in the interests of the international community, including the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the government of Afghanistan, to make sure this development continues,” he added.
According to Paet, Estonia is willing to make a contribution to the development of the Afghan security forces post-2014. “However, this is not a one-way street; Afghans, for their part, must also make an effort,” he said.
Commenting on the Deterrence and Defence Posture Review, Paet noted that it reflected the need to develop NATO's deterrent capabilities in all areas, including conventional weapons. “NATO must increase its visibility throughout the NATO territory and, therefore, we wish for regular NATO exercises in the Baltic Sea region,” Paet said.
The meeting also confirmed the solution for the air policing mission in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. “Estonia is willing to increase its contribution to the mission. Air policing in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is a confirmation of the presence of NATO and the solidarity of the alliance,” Foreign Minister assured.
The 18-19 April meeting of Defence and Foreign Ministers in Brussels focuses on the preparations for the May summit in Chicago. Developments in Afghanistan after 2014 and ensuring the training and sustainability of the Afghan security forces are on the agenda. Also, discussions will include NATO's Deterrence and Defence Posture Review and Smart Defence projects. NATO's partnerships will also be generally discussed.
Additionally, the meeting of the NATO-Russian Council at Foreign Minister level will take place tomorrow as well as the meeting of the foreign ministers of the participant states of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
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