The Secretary General welcomed Mr. Ponta, who was on his first visit to NATO headquarters as Romania’s Prime Minister. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen praised Romania’s commitment to NATO and expressed gratitude for the nation’s long-standing contribution to the missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. “Romania is a staunch Ally. I very much appreciate your commitment to the Alliance in spite of economic difficulties,” the Secretary General said.
The Secretary General and the Romanian Prime Minister discussed the priorities for the Chicago Summit, which will focus on Afghanistan, capabilities and partnerships.
Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO heads of state and government will at the Summit set out how Allied nations will complete the transition to full Afghan security by the end of 2014. They will also decide how they continue to support Afghan security forces beyond 2014.
On capabilities the Secretary General welcomed Romania’s backing of the Alliance’s Smart Defence approach, notably its participation in the C-17 transport aircraft project, the Allied Ground Surveillance drone programme and missile defence. The Summit is expected to make Smart Defence its new blue print for maintaining and developing capabilities into the next decade.
“Chicago will show we are learning the lessons from our operations and our commitment to keeping NATO fit for purpose and fit for the future,” the Secretary General said. “When defence budgets are under pressure, NATO can help Allies build greater security with fewer resources, by adopting a new approach: Smart Defence.”
The Chicago Summit will also demonstrate NATO’s determination to broaden and deepen its ties with partners. The Secretary General noted Romania’s important role in developing closer ties in the Western Balkans. “Prime Minister, I would like to thank you for the role Romania plays in building strong relationships with our partners,” the Secretary General said.