Minister Giulio Terzi is attending the meeting of NATO Foreign and Defence Ministers taking place in Brussels today 18 and tomorrow 19 April 2012. The meeting is part of the run-up to the Alliance’s Summit in Chicago in May, which will focus on Afghanistan and in particular on the nature of the NATO mission post-2014 (the end of the transition). Other aspects for discussion are the numbers of Afghan forces to be recruited and trained, and the costs of that training.
“Italy”, said the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Giuseppe Manzo, “will again raise the question of international collaboration to combat terrorism and piracy”, as it did at last week’s G8 meeting in Washington. The meeting in Brussels will be followed another one, extended to include Russia, ten years on from the Pratica di Mare Summit that led to the NATO-Russia Council agreement. Manzo underscored that “this will be an opportunity to confirm the continuing validity of the spirit that led to that agreement”.
Chicago Summit: one month to go
With one month to go until the Chicago Summit, the Alliance wants to send a clear message of unity, and on the timescales and arrangements for the handover of responsibility for security to Afghanistan. According to the schedule agreed by the 28 NATO members two years ago at the Lisbon summit, the transition should be completed by the end of 2014.
“I don't foresee a combat role after 2014, but we will continue a training mission”, said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speaking in the margins of the Ministerial. The nature of the NATO mission post-2014 and the numbers of Afghan forces to be recruited and trained, and the costs of that training, have still to be decided. The two questions will be high on the agenda at the Chicago Summit on 20 and 21 May 2012. “it's clear that we will be there beyond 2014 and the core function will be a training mission” said Rasmussen
Missile defence capability
The meeting in Brussels also served to clarify the planned missile defence shield that the allies intend to deploy in Europe.
“I expect we will declare an interim missile defence capability” at the Chicago Summit in May, announced Rasmussen. This, he added, is “a first step towards our long-term goal of providing missile defence for NATO’s European populations, territory and forces”.