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Hagel to Attend NATO Defense Ministers Meeting in Brussels

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will travel to Brussels later today to attend a NATO defense ministers meeting.

The secretary, who is visiting military bases in Virginia, announced his trip today in a statement about contingency planning for a possible full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by year’s end in the absence of a signed bilateral security agreement.

The two-day meeting begins tomorrow, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said yesterday, adding that ahead of the first working session, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will make a statement that will focus on defense capabilities.

The second working session will focus on defense capacity building, cyber defense and maritime security, along with NATO’s Connected Forces Initiative, which involves improving operational collaboration with other military forces.

Afterward, Rasmussen will hold a news conference followed by a working dinner, Lungescu said, “and I expect that the ministers will be discussing Afghanistan and Ukraine over dinner.”

On Feb. 27, the defense ministers will meet with International Security Assistance Force contributing partners and Afghanistan’s defense minister, she added.

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinAFPS)


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