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Belgium, Brussels, Permanent Delegation to NATO of the Republic of Bulgaria

Regular spring meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers

23 April 2013 News

Events in the Middle East and North Africa, the crisis in Syria, the NATO mission in Afghanistan and the challenges after completion of the mission at the end of 2014 were among the topics of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Alliance, held on April 23 in Brussels. The Bulgarian delegation to the meeting was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Naydenov.

The morning session of the North Atlantic Council was devoted to developments in the Middle East and North Africa and the situation in Syria. The foreign ministers also discussed the impact of events in the region on the security of neighbouring countries and NATO. It was confirmed that the strengthening of Turkey's air defence by Patriot missile systems remains a priority for the Alliance. In relation to the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the Council adopted a declaration condemning the militant rhetoric and provocative actions of North Korea and urging it to negotiate the withdrawal of its nuclear and missile programmes.

A meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, with the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, discussed issues of mutual interest such as Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea and missile defence. Bulgarian outlined its position on Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea and the deepening of NATO-Russia co-operation on the basis of transparency and reciprocity.

At a luncheon meeting, the ministers of the 28 member states discussed the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and challenges after the end of NATO ISAF operation at the end of 2014. Also discussed was NATO's contribution to the stability of the country and the region after that date. In his remarks, Deputy Minister Naydenov noted the undeniable success of the NATO mission while at the same time recognising the need for further strengthening of the Afghan security forces with a view to long-term stabilisation of the situation. He emphasised the importance of the political process and the prime importance of holding fair presidential and parliamentary elections as a factor for stability and reconciliation in the country.

The closing session with ISAF partners was dedicated to reviewing the progress of the campaign and the transition in Afghanistan as we approach the turning point for security in the middle of this year, when Afghan forces will take over responsibility for security throughout the country.

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