EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

More Say On Afghanistan

  • February 18th, 2008
  • Posted by EUEditor

fitzgibbon-joel-google-abc2.jpgThe Australian Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, says NATO will give him information previously withheld on strategic planning, before the alliance holds top level talks on Afghanistan this April.

Mr Fitzgibbon (picture) has been agitating for a place at the table for Australia when NATO works on military plans, against legal restrictions it has on consultation with non-alliance governments.

He said today the NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, had confirmed that Australian officials would be properly informed, before the preparation of a draft statement on the way forward for Afghanistan.

The statement is to go to the summit of heads of government of the alliance at Bucharest in April.

The Minister told Australian radio the Australian government was not planning to send more forces to Afghanistan, and would not do so until a number of NATO member countries did more, by removing restrictions on use of their troops in the field.

However it had been considering the configuration of the numbers which determined the percentage of combat forces in the total.,

He said more could be done in helping to train the Afghan National Army which had been failing to hold on to gains made by allied troops against Taliban insurgents, and to boost Afghan police efforts against the opium trade.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan operates under NATO command, though 14 of the 40 countries involved are not members of the North Atlantic alliance — periodically raising issues over information sharing and policy.

Reference:

Joel Fitzgibbon, Defence Minister (Australia), interview Fran Kelly, ABC Radio National, 09:00 AEST, 18.2.08.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), home, Brussels. http://www.nato.int/isaf/inedex.html, (18.2.08).

Leave a Reply