May 20, 2016
NATO Headquarters, Brussels
I would like to begin by thanking H.E Secretary General Stoltenberg for inviting me to this very important NATO Ministerial Meeting and for convening this afternoon’s highly productive session on Afghanistan.
Our meeting this afternoon had two main purposes.
First, to outline NATO’s future support for Afghanistan, along three strands of activities:
1. To sustain the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and institutions beyond 2016;
2. To continue to support the financial sustainment of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, through 2020; and,
3. To develop a long-term strong political partnership and practical cooperation with Afghanistan.
In our meeting here last December; with a view to NATO’s summit meeting in Warsaw this July, we had discussed our joint commitment to the financial sustainability of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, and had agreed to launch further work with the wider international community to this end.
Today, I extend the profound gratitude of the Afghan Government and People to NATO Allies and Partners for reaffirming their commitment to continue supporting the financial sustainment of ANDSF up to 2020.
This multi-year pledge of solid support not only reassures Afghans of the critical assistance we will need in the coming years to further consolidate our democratic gains of the past 15 years, but it also sends a clear, strong message of defiance to terrorists, who destabilize Afghanistan and undermine international peace.
The second purpose of our meeting today was to discuss the progress made by the Afghan Government towards the realization of its solid commitments to reform and to make improvements on a range of issues, as reaffirmed in our meeting here last December.
Today, I was delighted to update Secretary General Stoltenberg and the Foreign Ministers of Allied and Resolute Support operational partner nations on a number of important military, political, and socio-economic developments in Afghanistan, since then.
By the time of the NATO Summit in Warsaw and with continued support by the international community, the Afghan Government is committed to make further tangible improvements and progress in the security sector, particularly in leadership development and accountability, but also more widely in areas such as good governance, electoral reform, the promotion of gender equality and human rights, including the protection and promotion of children’s rights.