Minister for Defence Marise Payne will represent Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the NATO Leaders’ Summit from 11-12 July in Belgium.
During the summit, Minister Payne will attend the Resolute Support session to meet with leaders of NATO member states and partner countries to discuss Australia’s ongoing contribution to Afghanistan’s security.
“Australia continues to make a significant contribution to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and we are the second largest contributor to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund,” Minister Payne said.
The Afghan mission is described as being key to both Australia's national security and that of the broader region. Because of this, Australia's commitment to supporting the Afghan government to contain the threat of terrorism and support the development of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces will continue.
Australia's involvement in Afghanistan is the nation's longest military engagement. Beginning in 2001, following the September 11 attacks on New York. Australia has been a key contributor to the operational, training and rebuilding aspects of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and ongoing coalition operations against extremists in Afghanistan.
Minister Payne said Australia is an enhanced opportunity partner of NATO and our relationship is reflective of our shared values and our steadfast commitment to global stability and security. In this capacity, Australia and NATO agree to collaborate and work on crisis and conflict management, post-conflict solutions, reconstruction and facilitating humanitarian and disaster relief.
“The NATO Leaders’ Summit is also an important opportunity to share Australia’s unique perspective on security challenges in south-east Asia, including the threat of terrorism,” Minister Payne said.
While in Brussels, Minister Payne will also meet with Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Curtis Scaparrotti, as well as NATO leadership.