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

Australia Wants Change As Afghanistan Allies Meet

  • February 6th, 2008
  • Posted by EUEditor

fitzgibbon-joel-google-abc1.jpgThe Australian Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon (picture), said he would support changes in the way the NATO-led Afghanistan campaign was being run — on the eve of a meeting of the allied Defence Ministers, this week in Lithuania.

The following is a statement from his office (5.2.08):

Minister for Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon departs for Vilnius, Lithuania later today to meet with his counterparts from other International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) contributing nations to discuss the future of Afghanistan.

“The meetings in Vilnius will provide me with the opportunity to reiterate Australia’s concerns regarding the requirement for a broader, more integrated approach to reconstruction, rehabilitation and economic development in Southern Afghanistan,” Minister Fitzgibbon said.

The Regional Command (South) Ministerial meetings provide a valuable platform to discuss a broad range of issues to ensure both strategic and practical progress is being made in southern Afghanistan.

Minister Fitzgibbon will use the meeting to once again reiterate the need for a long-term plan for Afghanistan.

“I look forward to the opportunity to assess NATO’s progress towards developing a coherent and long-term strategy for the future peace and stability of Afghanistan,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Minister Fitzgibbon said the Government had recently agreed to maintain the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) substantial force commitments, with increased focus on training of the Afghanistan National Army (ANA).

“Our strategy seeks to strengthen Afghanistan’s institutions, particularly accelerating the capability growth of the Afghan National Security Forces, improving living conditions and eliminating the narcotics trade,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.


See EUAustralia, “Visiting the Diggers and the Allies” (23.12.07), “Holding the Line on Afghanistan” (19.12.07).

Defence Departmnent (Australia), “Minister for Defence to discuss the future of Afghanistan with NATO partners”, 5.2.08, 006/2008.