NATO Secretary General Terms Summit a Success
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2012 Heads of state and government, their foreign and defense ministers and others who gathered in Chicago have accomplished what they set out to do, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said today.
In the alliance’s largest summit meeting ever, representatives of NATO member nations, partner nations and International Security Assistance Force troop-contributing countries met three goals, he said at a news conference.
“We have focused on the future of Afghanistan; we have decided to invest smartly in our defense, even in times of austerity; and we have engaged with our partners around the world to address the challenges we all face in the 21st century,” Rasmussen said.
NATO has set a course to complete the current mission in Afghanistan, and made clear the alliance’s commitment to supporting safety and security in that country, he said. The Afghan government and other nations will partner with NATO in funding and otherwise supporting the army and police forces that will assume full lead responsibility for their nation’s security between now and the end of 2014, he said.
“Here in Chicago,” the secretary general said, “we agreed to implement a renewed culture of cooperation, so that nations can achieve together what they cannot achieve alone.”
NATO members have furthered their “smart defense” approach to collectively buying NATO military systems “that will provide the capabilities that we need, at a price we can afford,” he said.
The summit drew representatives of NATO partner nations from the four corners of the world, the secretary general noted. The reach of NATO’s relationships demonstrates the alliance’s determination to deepen and strengthen its partnership network “in the interest of our shared security,” he added.
“This has been a highly successful summit,” Rasmussen said. “Together, we have faced the challenges that needed facing, with shared responsibility and shared leadership.”