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NATO ministers to discuss terrorism, Afghan troop levels

NATO ministers to discuss terrorism, Afghan troop levels

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Jun 28, 2017 - 15:16

BRUSSELS ( Pajhwok) NATOinfo-icon defence ministers are expected to take decisions on terrorism and the path forward in Afghanistaninfo-icon, including future troop levels.

Ahead of the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that defence spending across the alliance was expected to grow by 4.3% in 2017.

 “That is three consecutive years of accelerating defence spending. This means, over the last three years, European Allies and Canada spent almost 46 billion US dollars more on defence,” he said in a pree ministerial press conference here in Brussles today.

To help combat terrorism, NATO is now fully integrated into the information-sharing and decision-making structures of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.  He added.

“We have already stepped up our support with more flight-time and information sharing by our AWACS surveillance aircraft,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.

At NATO Headquarters, a new Hybrid Branch and a Terrorism Intelligence Cell are operational and NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller will coordinate the Alliance’s anti-terrorism efforts.

Tomorrow, we  will also present a progress report on NATO-EU cooperation to ministers. This sets out how NATO and the EU are stepping up cooperation on issues ranging from resilience to hybrid threats.

Defence ministers will also discuss the path forward in Afghanistan, including future troop levels. Stoltenberg said.

At the June 29 meeting, the ministers are expected to exchange views on the current state of play with regard to defense expenditures, specifically with respect to the implementation of the defense investment pledge undertaken at the NATO Summit in Wales in 2014.

They will take stock of the continued increase in defense investment across Europe and Canada and also to agree on targets for further development of specific military capabilities. A NATO official told Pajhwok Afghan News.

They will then note a progress report on cooperation between NATO and EU, at a working lunch to be also attended by European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, as well as by Finland and Sweden. Official added.

The ministers are also expected to discuss most relevant decisions taken at the NATO leaders' special meeting held in Brussels this past May 25 on the alliance enhanced role in the fight against terrorism.

The meeting on Afghanistan will be attended by defense ministers of all of the 29 NATO members, as well as by all of the NATO's operational partners contributing to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

Acting Defence Minister General Bahrami, NATO Senior Civilian Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Cornelius Zimmermann, and the Commander of the Resolute Support Mission General John Nicholson will attend the meeting on Afghanistan.

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