This Summit will be an important opportunity for NATO. We will mark the conclusion, at the end of 2014, of our ISAF mission, as well as a new phase of our engagement in Afghanistan. We will take further steps to modernise our Alliance so that it remains strong, flexible and ready to face any security challenge. And we will reaffirm the bond between Europe and North America that is the source of our strength, our security and our success.
In 1949, the United Kingdom was one of NATO’s twelve founding members and the seat of its first Headquarters. From the start, the United Kingdom has been a staunch Ally, and a strong contributor to NATO operations as well as to our political debate. As we plan for the Alliance’s future, I warmly welcome the United Kingdom's offer to be our host, and I look forward to a successful Summit in September 2014.