NATO Military Committee ends in Brussels

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The 179th NATO Military Committee, bringing together the chiefs of general staff of alliance member countries in Brussels, ended on Wednesday.

Following the meeting, NATO Military Committee Chair Gen. Petr Pavel, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Gen. Denis Mercier spoke to journalists.

“To do more in counter-terrorism is not just killing more terrorists. It is much broader. We spent about a third of our time today discussing [these] issues. They are not just what we have done, but they are about the plans that are ahead of us,” said Pavel.

He added that they have held a number of training activities with other partners in the region to boost their resilience and capacity to deal with these issues with NATO assistance.

Falling public support for Taliban

For his part, Scaparrotti said NATO must continue its resolve to ensure progress in Afghanistan.

“To insure progress, we need to continue our resolve,” he said, adding that they want to see the Afghanistan government execute its road map, which Scaparrotti said was “right and has a good perspective”.

Pavel also said that the Afghan people are supporting the Taliban less.

“So the situation is changing slowly even in Afghan society,” he said.

Ukraine: Military, political success needed

Touching on developments in Ukraine, Pavel said: “I think the best way ahead is to continue with the idea we have set on. And it is to make Ukraine successful both militarily and economically. Because this is the best answer to Russia’s approach on Ukraine.”

He added that NATO is supporting Ukraine financially, institutionally, and politically.

“We will keep pressing Russia to comply with international norms,” Pavel said.

Ukraine has been mired in a devastating conflict in its eastern regions since March 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea after an illegal independence vote.

The warring parties signed a cease-fire in February 2015, but the fighting continued, claiming more than 10,000 lives, according to the UN.

The UN General Assembly voted to proclaim the Russian annexation illegal. Along with many UN countries, the U.S., the EU and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

On the sidelines of the Brussels meeting, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar also separately met his U.S., Australian, Canadian, and Greek counterparts.

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