News Release Article from  National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Minister Sajjan attends NATO Defence Ministerial Meeting followed by Global Coalition Against ISIL Meeting in Brussels

February 11, 2016 - Brussels

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan attended his first North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defence Ministers Meeting on February 10th to 11th, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

With less than six months before the NATO Heads of State and Government Summit in Warsaw this summer, the meeting provided an important opportunity for Minister Sajjan to highlight Canada’s commitment to NATO and exchange views with his NATO counterparts on how to best strengthen the defence, deterrence and cooperative security of the Alliance.

Following the NATO ministerial, Minister Sajjan participated in a meeting of defence ministers from countries contributing to the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Minister used the occasion to outline details of Canada’s expanded contribution to the Coalition, as announced by Prime Minister Trudeau with Ministers on February 8, 2016.

Minister Sajjan will next travel to Munich, Germany to participate in the Munich Security Conference.

Quick Facts     

  • The Minister met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for the first time, and they discussed the Alliance’s response to the evolving security environment along NATO’s borders, as well as priorities for the upcoming Warsaw Leaders’ Summit. The Minister thanked the Secretary General for his leadership and reaffirmed Canada’s support to NATO, including through active contribution to the Alliance’s Assurance and Adaptation Measures.
  • Minister Sajjan held a number of bilateral meetings with Allies and partners on the sidelines of the NATO Defense Ministerial Meeting including the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Turkey, New Zealand, Poland and Iraq.
  • During Minister Sajjan’s first meeting with US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter, a wide range of issues important to the Canada-U.S. defence relationship were discussed, including continental defence cooperation and other topics of mutual interest, such as the security situation in the Middle East. During their meeting, Minister Sajjan outlined Canada’s renewed and enhanced military engagement as part of the Global Coalition against ISIL.  
  • Ministers agreed during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to reposition the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) immediately to the Aegean Sea as a result of a request brought by Germany, Greece and Turkey. The role of SNMG2 is to conduct surveillance, reconnaissance and monitoring of refugee crossings in the Aegean in cooperation with relevant authorities. The HMCS Fredericton is presently deployed as a part of this group under German Command.
  • While at NATO, Minister Sajjan joined a number of Allies in expressing support for the Trans-Atlantic Capability Enhancement and Training (TACET) Initiative. TACET aims to further facilitate the coordination and sustainability of Allied training and capability enhancement efforts in Poland and the Baltic states, while also enhancing interoperability between Allied forces. Through Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance measures, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is actively involved in the provision of training and exercises in the region. 
  • While in Brussels, Minister Sajjan participated in a Quint meeting of the five principal nations currently providing assistance to Ukraine’s defence and security forces (UK, Canada, US, Poland and Lithuania). During the meeting, Minister Sajjan highlighted Canada’s significant contributions to the modernization of Ukraine’s military, noting the important work being carried out by CAF's personnel under Operation UNIFIER.
  • On February 8, 2016, the Government of Canada announced a new approach to respond to the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria and their impact in the region. As part of this refocused strategy, Canada will extend its military engagement under Operation IMPACT, increase our complement of military personnel at various coalition headquarters and triple the size of our current train, advise and assist mission to help Iraqi security forces plan and conduct military operations against ISIL. While Canada will cease air strike operations no later than February 22, 2016, aerial refueling and surveillance activities will continue.


“We have entered a critical period where strong coordination among Allies and partners is required to address the pressing global security challenges that confront us to the East and to the South. Our Allies can count on Canada’s commitment to NATO, as we adapt to the demands of this changing and complex security environment.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister

“Canada is a committed partner to the Global Coalition Against ISIL. As announced by Canada’s Prime Minister, the Canadian Armed Forces will extend its military contribution under Operation IMPACT, including expanding its current train, advise and assist mission to help Iraqi security forces plan and conduct military operations against ISIL.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister

Associated Links

Prime Minister sets new course to address crises in Iraq and Syria
Operation IMPACT
Operation UNIFIER
Canada in NATO
Canadian Armed Forces Images Gallery


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