Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today’s meeting is a unique opportunity to meet with 13 partner nations who have made, and continue to make, special contributions to the work of our Alliance. We are very grateful for this wide-ranging support – and today’s meeting is testimony to that.
At NATO’s last Summit, in Lisbon in November 2010, Allies agreed to make cooperative security a core task – working with other nations and organisations is vital for our own security, and for enhancing international security.
The nations around this table, Allies and partners, share common security concerns. And it is right that we develop common approaches to deal with those concerns. Today’s meeting will offer us the opportunity to share views, to discuss what we have done well, and where we can do more.
We will look to strengthen our political consultations.
We will review our lessons learned from our shared operational experiences. And as we approach the drawdown of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, we will consider how we can preserve the close cooperation we have developed and acquired there.
We greatly value all our partners and today’s meeting will also be a step towards working with them all to build greater security for Allies, greater security for partners, and greater security for the international community.
I would now kindly ask the press to leave so that we can begin our deliberations.