Mr President, I’m so pleased to welcome you to NATO Headquarters. This is indeed a timely visit.
Soon we will see Afghan troops and police take the lead for security across the country, as ISAF shifts its role from combat to support. That will mark an important milestone on the road to full Afghan security responsibility. The goal that we have set together is now within reach. Afghan security forces are taking the initiative, and they are taking the fight to the enemy.
We are going to be there to support them, through 2014 and beyond, as we agreed with you at the Chicago summit. Today, ISAF ministers are setting out the means to ensure that our future funding mechanism for the Afghan national army is transparent and accountable.
Planning for our new train, advise and assist mission is also underway. We will consult with your authorities at all stages as this planning continues. So Mr President, I look forward to discussing with you our long-term commitment, and the arrangements that are necessary to underpin that commitment. Because a stable and secure Afghanistan is our shared goal. So, once again, a warm welcome.