NATO Secretary General stresses importance of Chicago Summit to Alliance’s future at Berlin talks
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed the importance of this month’s Chicago Summit to the future of the Alliance and its mission in Afghanistan, in talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on 4 May 2012.
Mr. Fogh Rasmussen praised Germany’s steadfast support for the Alliance and its missions, notably in Afghanistan, Kosovo and off the coast of Somalia.
“Germany has stood shoulder to shoulder with NATO Allies to promote security and stability for us all,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.
Germany has over 4,900 troops in Afghanistan and has just over 1,200 troops in Kosovo. It also provides the commander for the KFOR mission.
The Secretary General discussed the 20-21 May Chicago Summit agenda in his meeting with the Chancellor. He said that the Chicago Summit will be a crucial one for the Alliance. The Summit will have three main goals: Afghanistan, capabilities and partnerships.
“This will be a vital moment, as we set out how to keep NATO of the future as strong and successful as the NATO of the past,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.
The Secretary General said that on Afghanistan, NATO would complete its ISAF mission by the end of 2014, but added that the Alliance would remain committed to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. “Afghan troops and police are already in charge for the security of half the population – soon they will be in the lead for most of the country. At Chicago, we will make clear our commitment to complete transition by the end of 2014 and how to support Afghanistan beyond 2014,” he said.
Mr. Fogh Rasmussen also raised future NATO capabilities, and the importance that European allies work closely together and with the European Union. He said that despite tough economic times, NATO can help nations with limited resources build greater security.
“At Chicago we will adopt a new culture of cooperation – Smart Defence. And we will continue to ensure that NATO and the European Union reinforce each other rather than compete with each other,” he said.
The Secretary General also visited the Mauer Museum at Checkpiont Charlie where he was given a tour of the "NATO-Mission for Freedom" permanent exhibition. The exhibit brings together thousands of previously unpublished documents illustrating the history of NATO from its foundation to the present day and highlights the achievements of the North Atlantic Alliance for freedom and democracy.