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North Atlantic Council

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the outcome of the North Atlantic Council defence ministers meeting on 14 and 15 June 2007. (144046)

[holding answer 19 June 2007]: NATO Defence Ministers discussed a range of issues including the continuing transformation of NATO’s capabilities, missile defence, and operational commitments in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Force planning issues were discussed at the annual meeting of the Defence Planning Committee in Defence Ministers’ Session, and nuclear planning issues at the Nuclear Planning Group.

In addition, Afghanistan’s Defence Minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak attended a special session of the North Atlantic Council together with the non-NATO nations contributing to the International Security Assistance Force. Allies underlined their commitment to the mission in Afghanistan, noted the progress that has already been made, and stressed the importance of Afghan ownership of security issues. The Council noted that the UN had been given a wider remit in the current Security Council Resolution and supported the efforts of the UN to maximise its impact and to expand its presence in the provinces of Afghanistan.

The Council also condemned the Taliban practice of deliberately endangering the civilian population of Afghanistan and underlined NATO’s commitment to avoiding civilian casualties.

A copy of the final communiqué of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers’ Session can be found at:

http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2007/p07-070e.html