I’d like to thank President Obama for hosting two very productive summits this week.
This has been an important year for NATO.
Our Alliance acted quickly, effectively and in coordination with outside partners to help the Libyan people to bring down a tyrannical regime.
And of course, we’re all proud that this was accomplished under Canadian leadership, the leadership of General Bouchard.
Today we came together with a broad range of partners to discuss Afghanistan’s future.
Canada’s objectives in Afghanistan have been clear.
We want to ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a centre of global terrorism, and we want to see the Afghans take primary responsibility for their own security.
For these reasons, I committed to our allies at our last meeting in Lisbon that Canada would contribute substantially to the NATO mission to help train Afghan forces until March 2014.
Today I’m confirming that we will honour that commitment and that the end date is firm and final.
Canada will not have a military mission in Afghanistan after March 2014.
Since 2002, the brave men and women of our Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP,
and many dedicated public servants and civilians have made enormous sacrifices to help the Afghan people.
We will continue to assist the Afghan people going forward.
Specifically, to ensure the transition of security to the Afghans themselves continues, we will make a significant financial contribution to the NATO Fund for Afghan National Security Forces.
Canada will insist that there be strict accountability measures in place for this fund.
This will help ensure lasting results for the hard-won progress that Canadians had made in Afghanistan.
It will also be necessary, of course, for the Afghan government to take greater responsibility for matters beyond security including redoubling efforts to improve governance, respect human rights and fight corruption.
Finally, I also want to note that I had useful discussions on these issues and other bilateral matters with our allies over the past few days, including with President Hollande, President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, Prime Minister Rutte and Chancellor Merkel.