NATO ministerial meeting begins in Brussels
BRUSSELS (Pajhwok): A two-day NATO defence ministerial meeting got under way in this capital city of Belgium on Wednesday to discuss issues including a key security pact between Kabul and Washington, as well as the landmark presidential elections.
A wide range of topics, including capabilities, capacity building, cyber defence maritime security, Afghanistan and Ukraine, would be discussed, NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu told journalists here.
Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will make a statement on defence capabilities ahead of the first working session that started at 4.14pm (Afghan time). The ministers would give direction on addressing existing capability gaps, she said.
The second session would focus on defence capacity-building, cyber defence and maritime security, as well as the Connected Forces Initiative. “And this session I suspect will conclude around 18h30 after which you can expect the press conference by the Secretary General which will take place next door.”
She said the defence ministers were expected to discuss Afghanistan and Ukraine over dinner. “We are not planning any media briefing after that dinner.”
On Thursday, she said, the defence ministers would be meeting with ISAF contributing partners and Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi as well ahead of the final press conference. The defence ministers are expected to discuss the alliance post-2014 mission in Afghanistan to train and assist Afghan forces.
NATO officials have been insisting Afghanistan must sign the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the US before the alliance could sign its own agreement on the status of its forces. A day earlier, Rasmussen told Afghan journalists covering the meeting that there would be exclusive discussion on Afghanistan.
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