Ministers underscore commitment to NATO Response Force

Posted in NATO | 16-Feb-06 | Source: NATO

Italian Carabinieri walk past a NATO sign at the site of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Taormina, Sicily, 09 February 2006.

Meeting in Taormina, Italy, 9-10 February, NATO Defence Ministers discussed the steps necessary to ensure that NATO’s 25,000-strong expeditionary Response Force is fully up and running by the end of this year.

The informal meeting of Defence Ministers from the 26 NATO countries focused on NATO’s political and military transformation. The Response Force - due to become fully operational in October this year - is one of the key elements of this transformation.

It will number about 25,000 highly-trained forces and be capable of deploying anywhere in the world at five day’s notice to take on a wide range of missions.

Minister discussed the different scenarios in which the Response Forces could be used as well as how deployments will be financed.

A building block for Riga

Ministers also discussed the way ahead for NATO's operations and missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Mediterranean, as well as the Alliance's assistance to the African Union in Darfur.

I consider the discussion a building block for the Summit in Riga we are going to have at the end of November,” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters, “Allies share the goal that the Response Force must be fully up and running when have our Summit in Riga.”