Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
I will accompany Prime Minister Julia Gillard to Lisbon, Portugal, to attend the Summit Meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government on Friday and Saturday 19-20 November.
The Summit will be an important opportunity for Australia to engage with NATO, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partners and the international community on Afghanistan.
A key focus of the Summit will be discussions on transitioning security responsibility to Afghan authorities.
In particular, the Summit will be an opportunity for the international community to set out further detail on the objective of Afghan authorities assuming lead responsibility for security in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
During the Summit, Australia will highlight our strong commitment to mentoring and training the Afghan National Security Forces in Uruzgan Province to enable them to take on responsibility for security arrangements in the province over the next two to four years.
This is an important Australian contribution to effecting a conditions-based transition to Afghan-led security across Afghanistan.
We will also discuss the longer-term international commitment to support Afghanistan, including the enhancement of Afghan governance of institutions and civilian capacity building, and Australia’s support for Afghanistan over the long term.
After our training mission has concluded, we expect that Australia will maintain a close association with Afghanistan, particularly providing civilian capacity building and development assistance.
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