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NATO Defence Ministers determined to improve capabilities, cooperation

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

09 Oct. 2012 – 10 Oct. 2012

Allied nations are actively looking to improve their defence capabilities through smarter spending and improved cooperation, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday.

The Secretary General said NATO Defence Ministers meeting at NATO headquarters took stock of the progress their countries have made on improving defence capabilities and providing security in a time of economic austerity.

A first working session of a two-day ministerial on Tuesday (9 October 2012) focused on where member states stood in the implementation of decisions taken at the Chicago Summit. In Chicago last May, NATO leaders agreed on the principle of Smart Defence, which sees countries working together to develop and maintain capabilities which they would not be able to afford alone. At Chicago the leaders approved a list of more than 20 multinational projects which will give Allies more capabilities, more effectively.

"This is one of the most urgent challenges facing our Alliance today", Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said at a press conference. He said all Allies were involved in ways to improve their capabilities, including European member states, some of which have been hardest hit by the economic crisis. "European Allies are aware of their responsibilities and are actively looking for ways to improve their capabilities, even in this time of economic austerity", he said. "We need smart spending and even more we need sufficient spending."

He added that while no decisions were taken at Tuesday’s meeting, ministers made progress on the need for more multinational cooperation and on the better use of NATO’s common funds.

The Secretary General said the ministers had "kept up the momentum" on increased cooperation, adding he expected agreement among Allies in the coming months on more multinational projects to improve capabilities.

Defence Ministers were to continue their talks on Wednesday, with discussions on NATO’s missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

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