Meeting of Defence Ministers, 17 and 18 June 2020
On the 17th and 18th of June 2020 Minister of Defence Matej Tonin attended the regular meeting of Defence Ministers via secure video link. During the meeting ministers, in addition to implications of the possible second wave of the COVID-19 pandemics, also addressed key issues for the Alliance, including future deterrence and defence adaptation and NATO operations, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group was followed by the session in Allied format, during which Ministers discussed two strands of work that will contribute significantly to future strengthening and adaptation of NATO's deterrence and defence posture. The Concept of Deterrence and Defence of the Euro Atlantic area and NATO's response to Russia’s missile challenge.
Minister also discussed NATO operations and missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. NATO will continue to monitor conditions on the ground and adjust our presence in support of the peace process. In Iraq NATO will continue to support the strengthening of Iraqi forces, so they ensure ISIS does not return. It is important that NATO operations and missions were carried out during COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the measures taken to ensure security of forces against the virus.
During the session on the second day, the EU High Representative Joseph Borrell and defence ministers from Finland, Sweden and Australia joined the discussion on implications and NATO's response to the possible second wave of the COVID-19 pandemics. COVID-19 represents a global challenge, therefore close cooperation in coordinating efforts and exchange of experiences and lessons learned in preparations for possible second wave, are crucial.
Ministers in this regard agreed on a new operation plan, as well as a stockpile of medical equipment and a trust fund to help meet urgent demands of Allies and Partners in the procurement of urgent equipment. Ministers also endorsed NATO's guidelines for national resilience, which has proved crucial during the pandemics. Minister Matej Tonin stated that Slovenia supports common endeavors in the fight against all threats, not only COVID-19 and that the civil-military cooperation is key. It is important that all future NATO efforts are complementary to national, and efforts of other international organizations, especially EU.