Minister For Defence To Attend Nato Ministers' Meeting In Slovakia

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22nd October 2009, 12:09pm - Views: 700





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SENATOR JOHN FAULKNER

Minister for Defence




Thursday, 22 October 2009

038/2009


MINISTER FOR DEFENCE TO ATTEND NATO

MINISTERS’ MEETING IN SLOVAKIA


The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, will tomorrow attend a

meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and non-NATO

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partners in Bratislava,

Slovakia, to discuss the campaign in Afghanistan.


“This ISAF meeting is occurring at a critical time – both in terms of the Afghan

elections and the consideration by the United States and ISAF partners of a

revised strategy for Afghanistan,” said Senator Faulkner.


“It is important for coalition partners to meet and take stock of recent events

and discuss the best path forward for Afghanistan.  I look forward to meeting

with colleagues to discuss these vital issues.


“As a significant contributor to Afghanistan, the Australian Government has

pushed for inclusion at these NATO fora.  Our presence at these regular

Afghanistan-related meetings is crucial – we need to ensure our views are

heard loudly and clearly.”


Of the 42 ISAF nations, Australia is among the 10 largest contributors, and is

the largest non-NATO troop contributing nation.


In April this year, the Prime Minister announced an increase in Australia’s

troop commitment to Afghanistan, with a focus on training and mentoring the

Afghan National Army’s 4th Brigade Kandaks in Oruzgan Province in southern

Afghanistan.


Australia is also the largest contributor to NATO’s Afghan National Army Trust

Fund, pledging USD$200 million over five years.


“While southern Afghanistan remains a very dangerous and volatile area, our

work training and mentoring the Afghan forces is being well received.  Local

communities in these areas welcome the presence of Afghan forces and the

security they bring,” said Senator Faulkner.


Media contacts:

Colin Campbell (John Faulkner):


02 6277 7800 or 0407 787 181

Defence Media Liaison:



02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664






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