Australia, NATO enhance ties
Saturday, April 2, 2005
Australia has plans to post a defence attaché to NATO headquarters in Brussels, and enhance counter-terrorism intelligence co-operation — but will not be increasing troop numbers to assist the multilateral defence body in its task in Afghanistan.
NATO chiefsuggested during a recent visit that more help in the troubled nation would be welcome. Australia currently supplies just one soldier to Afghanistan who assists in the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance. Up to 150 had at one time been on the ground there after the September 11 attack on the , but were brought home by November 2002.
"We are facing terrorism everywhere and anywhere," Mr Scheffer said. "We are all facing – the NATO alliance, Australia and this region alike – the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are all faced with the consequences of fragile and failing states."
Defence Minister Robert Hill said a change of role for NATO, set up to counter the perceived threat from the Iraqi personnel.in the , meant Australia was likely to be working more closely with the organisation in the future. NATO now provides security in Afghanistan and trains
- NATO wants more help in Afghanistan" — , April 1, 2005. "
- Max Blenkin and Paul Osborne (Australia, NATO boost links" — , April 01, 2005). "
- correspondents in Brussels. "NATO boss to visit Australia" — , March 24, 2005