Defence Minister wraps up the NATO Defence Ministers Meeting and the Counter-ISIS Defence Ministerial in Brussels

News Release

February 16, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan today concluded his participation in the NATO Defence Ministers Meeting and the Counter-ISIS Defence Ministerial, in Brussels. Over the two days of meetings, Minister Sajjan participated in discussions about the Alliance's response to security challenges, and held bilateral and multilateral discussions with Allies and partners, where he expressed Canada’s support for building long-term security solutions at home and abroad. Canada continues to be a committed member of NATO, dedicated to the Alliance and its goal of collective security.

Minister Sajjan took the opportunity to highlight Canada’s numerous contributions to international peace and security efforts, both through NATO and in partnership with key Allies and partners. In particular, he underlined Canada’s role as one of four Framework Nations of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence -- a key part of NATO’s strengthened deterrence and defence posture in Eastern and Central Europe. Minister Sajjan, alongside his counterpart from Latvia, led a meeting of Defence Ministers from nations contributing to the Canadian-led battlegroup in that country. In addition to sharing information on progress in establishing the battlegroup, the Minister warmly welcomed Spain -- which has formally announced its intention to join Albania, Italy, Poland, and Slovenia as a contributing nation. Canada is proud to have assumed a leadership role in this endeavour which aims to demonstrate NATO’s collective resolve to protect Alliance territories, with the ultimate goal of preventing conflict and increasing Allied interoperability. 

The Minister participated in a Quint meeting of the five principal nations currently providing assistance to Ukraine’s defence and security forces – Canada, Lithuania, Poland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Minister Sajjan confirmed with his counterparts that Canada is unwavering in its support to Ukraine, both in helping to preserve and protect Ukraine’s sovereignty, and in providing assistance to Ukraine to implement key reforms.

The Counter-ISIS Defence Ministerial, chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, included representatives from nations contributing to the Global Coalition. The meeting included an update on the military campaign plan, and a discussion on the future of the C-ISIS Coalition. Canada is implementing a comprehensive, integrated and sustained engagement strategy for the Middle East aimed at countering violent extremism, contributing to the dismantlement of Daesh, and supporting stability in the region.

The Minister held bilateral meetings over the two days with the Secretary General of NATO and his counterparts Australia, France, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom..

Throughout the two days of meetings, Minister Sajjan conveyed Canada’s support to working alongside our Allies and partners to build long-term security solutions at home and abroad. Canada continues to be a committed member of NATO, with unwavering commitment to the Alliance and its goal of collective security.

While in Brussels, the Minister also participated in a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission which serves as a forum for political consultations and practical cooperation to help Georgia achieve its goal of membership in NATO.

Minister Sajjan continues on to Germany to attend the Munich Security Conference, where he will join senior decision-makers from around the world to discuss international security challenges.


“Canada continues to demonstrate its commitment to NATO by working closely with our Allies to meet today's security challenges. As a NATO enhanced Forward Presence nation, Canada has taken a leadership role at NATO, and through the Defence Policy Review, we are ensuring our defence contributions continue to result in strong, relevant outcomes. Canadians are safer when we prepare ourselves to face defence challenges and contribute to a more stable world, now and into the future.‎"

Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister

Quick Facts

  • Canada will be establishing its largest sustained military presence in Europe in over a decade, by leading a multinational battlegroup in Latvia as part of Operation REASSURANCE.
  • Spain will contribute 300 troops to the Canada-led battlegroup to be established in Latvia this spring. Spain joins Albania, Italy, Poland and Slovenia as contributing nations to the battlegroup established as one of four in Eastern Europe supporting NATO’s deterrence and defence posture.
  • The Counter-ISIS Defence Ministerial, chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Defence, is part of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS which includes 68 participating nations all of which have committed themselves to the goals of eliminating the threat posed by Daesh.
  • Counter-ISIS: Canada’s contribution includes augmenting the size of the train, advise, and assist mission in northern Iraq, leading a Role 2 medical facility in Northern Iraq, establishing an All-Source Intelligence Centre, as well as capacity building for partners in Jordan and Lebanon to help increase regional stability.

Associated Links


Jordan Owens
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353
Toll-Free: 1-866-377-0811

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