NATO Secretary General calls on Allies to step up efforts

  • 02 Dec. 2009 -
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  • Last updated: 02 Dec. 2009 13:06

The NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, warmly welcomed President Barack Obama’s announcement on the new US political and military strategy for Afghanistan and his decision to commit a substantial number of troops, on the eve of the 3-4 December NATO Foreign Ministers meeting. He called upon non-US Allies to also increase their contribution substantially.

Monthly Press Conference by NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen

In a press conference in Brussels, the Secretary General congratulated President Obama on the determination and the strategic vision he has demonstrated. But, he said, “this is not just America’s war, this is an Alliance mission”. He added that “at this very important moment, NATO must demonstrate its unity and its strength once again.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed that NATO Allies and their Partners would increase their contributions to the ISAF mission, saying that “in 2010, the non-US members of this mission will send at least 5 000 more soldiers and probably more.

He also pressed Allies and Partners to fully resource NATO’s Training Mission in Afghanistan with a view to help foster the transition to Afghan lead, which is expected to start in some districts already next year. “Our strategy is very clear: to transfer lead responsibility for running their own country to the Afghans, as soon as possible,” the Secretary General said.

But,” he added, “transition is not a code word for exit strategy; it means transition to a more supporting role”. He made clear that the NATO/ISAF mission would not end until Afghans are capable of securing and running their country themselves.

The Secretary General added that there would be more development assistance and the civilian side of the whole effort would be stepped up as well. “All this will create a new momentum in the mission in 2010,” he said.

At the upcoming Foreign Minister’s meeting, Allies and their ISAF Partners will not only discuss the military operation but also the broader political strategy, which includes the promotion of good governance throughout the country.