“We’re gathering here in Chicago for a crucial summit at a crucial time. We will take decisions important for the security of North America and Europe, and for the future of our Alliance,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the press ahead of the meeting.
The Summit will take crucial decisions on the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan, military capabilities and NATO’s relationship with its global partners.
The first session of the Summit on Sunday is expected to focus on the question of how to maintain and improve defence and security capabilities through difficult economic times.
“Today, we will focus on security in an age of austerity. We will ensure that the Alliance has the capabilities to deal with the security challenges of the future – even as we tackle the economic challenges of the present,” the Secretary General said.
On Monday 21 May, NATO leaders will be joined by the heads of state and government of the countries who contribute to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, together with key partners and regional states such as Japan, Russia, Pakistan and the countries of Central Asia.
“Tomorrow, we will shape the next stage in our engagement with Afghanistan. We will complete transition of security responsibility to the Afghans by the end of 2014, but we will continue to support them for the long-term,” the Secretary General said.
The Summit will bring together NATO nations and partners from right around the world – from western Europe to East Asia, and from the South Pacific to North Africa. This will make it the broadest NATO Summit in history, with almost 60 countries and organisations represented.
“Today’s security challenges are global and they need global solutions. That is why NATO will continue to cooperate with partners from right round the world. We will build on our successes – so that we can provide more security for NATO, for our partners, and for the world,” the Secretary General said.