OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 22, 2013) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, has concluded his participation in the NATO Defence Ministerial meetings which took place on February 21 and 22 at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
During these meetings, NATO Ministers took stock of progress to implement a range of capability initiatives endorsed by leaders at the May 2012 Chicago Summit, including the Connected Forces Initiative and Smart Defence. These initiatives help ensure the Alliance can meet its capability requirements and maintain its ability to act when and where needed through enhanced exercises and training. Ministers also explored ways to ensure NATO remains a fit-for-purpose Alliance in a period of fiscal restraint.
"NATO continues to transform to meet the challenges of the 21st century and these critical discussions shape the manner through which our alliance will work together to address the defence and security issues that impact us all," said Minister MacKay. "Canada's priority at NATO is to continue to work to enhance the core strength of the Alliance as an operationally focused, deployable, and flexible political-military hub."
Canada believes NATO will continue to advance the common interest of all Alliance members by meeting the security challenges of the 21st century.
In addition to considering NATO's capability initiatives, there was a session on NATO operations in Afghanistan, which included representatives from non-NATO contributing nations, as well as a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. The participation of non-NATO Partners underscores NATO's commitment to cooperative security through its partnerships, which are an important part of ensuring that NATO remains an effective political-military alliance.
Minister MacKay also conducted a series of bilateral meetings, including one with the Right Honourable Philip Hammond, the British Secretary of State for Defence, during which they signed a defence Declaration of Intent that reaffirmed Canada and the United Kingdom's commitment to strengthening their military relationship.
"Canada and the United Kingdom have long-established, rich, close defence ties that have been reinforced through our history, common heritage, our shared values, and our tradition of working together to build peace and security," said Minister MacKay. "Both of our countries place a high priority on defence and security cooperation, highlighted recently by our close partnership in Afghanistan and Libya, and our common objectives at NATO."
The Declaration of Intent, which we signed earlier today, provides a framework for further deepening our cooperation. On September 22, 2011, Prime Ministers Harper and Cameron endorsed the "Canada - United Kingdom Joint Declaration: A Stronger Partnership for the 21st Century." In this document, Canadian and British defence establishments were directed to continue efforts to enhance their relationship to address international security challenges of mutual concern.
These bilateral discussions between Minister MacKay and Secretary of State Hammond reaffirmed both countries' commitment to strengthen our already extensive military relationship, and increase cooperation between our defence establishments.
For more information on the NATO Chicago Summit Declaration, please visit: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-FCEE87E6-B712200C/natolive/official_texts_87593.htm?mode=pressrelease
For more information on the Summit Declaration on Defence Capabilities: Toward NATO Forces 2020, please visit: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-FCEE87E6-B712200C/natolive/official_texts_87594.htm?mode=pressrelease
For more information regarding the importance of Canada's role in NATO, please consult the following backgrounder: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4658
For more information on the Canada-United Kingdom Declaration of Intent, please consult the following backgrounder: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4659
For more information about the "Canada-United Kingdom Joint Declaration: A Stronger Partnership for the 21st Century", please visit the following link: