14 November 2006 - NATO PARLIAMENTARIANS CALL FOR A POLITICAL INITIATIVE ON AFGHANISTAN AT UPCOMING RIGA SUMMIT [PRESS COMMUNIQUÉ]
The NATO-Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) has called for a political initiative on Afghanistan during the upcoming summit of NATO heads of state and government in Riga, Latvia later this month.
In a resolution on Afghanistan, based on a report by Dutch Parliamentarian and incoming President of the Assembly Bert Koenders, the NATO PA underlined the need for:
- a strengthened balance between security and military operations and reconstruction efforts. This could be done by giving priority to projects and by developing and implementing a common and comprehensive policy to tackle drug production and create alternative livelihood.
The NATO PA, the parliamentary arm of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), consists of some 248 delegates from 26 member states. Delegates from associate countries and Parliamentary Observer delegations also attend the session.
It is currently holding its 5-day annual session in Québec City. Much of the session has been taken up by a debate over NATO's mission in Afghanistan.
Canada's Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, whose country has committed forces to the operation, has requested greater support from other NATO allies. "Reconstruction and development of Afghanistan are a vital part of ensuring Canada's mission is a success," he told reporters earlier this week.
Canada's mission in Afghanistan goes beyond military operations because "we know that success in our mission cannot be assured by military means alone." He stressed other areas where NATO's presence had led to success, notably establishing health care for local people and elections.
"Taliban attacks have quieted down in the Kandahar area in recent weeks," Mr O'Connor said, adding that Canadian troops are prepared if insurgent activity starts up again.