Anders Fogh Rasmussen says good-bye to North Atlantic Council and NATO staff
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who will officially step down as the Alliance’s 12th Secretary General at the end of this month, said good-bye to the members of the North Atlantic Council and NATO staff on Friday (26 September 2014), together with his wife Anne-Mette and his daughter Christina.
At a farewell ceremony attended by senior Alliance officials and military officers, the Secretary General laid a wreath at the NATO Memorial to the Fallen at NATO headquarters in Brussels to honour the service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in NATO-led missions and operations.
Addressing the North Atlantic Council for the last time, he described the men and women in uniform who protect our security and defend our values under the NATO banner as “the backbone of our Alliance.” He thanked the ambassadors and delegations of the 28 Allies, and all the members of the NATO International Staff and International Military Staff, for their dedication, professionalism and outstanding team-work during his term, which he described as “the busiest and most challenging years for NATO.” He stressed that NATO’s ability to change and adapt is what makes the Alliance so strong. “We have reinforced the Alliance to make it fitter, faster and more flexible, “ Mr Fogh Rasmussen said.
Alliance leaders appointed Anders Fogh Rasmussen Secretary General of NATO at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit in April 2009, when he was Head of Government of Denmark. He took up office on 1 August 2009. During his tenure, Mr Fogh Rasmussen oversaw simultaneous missions and operations on three continents. In 2010, at the Lisbon Summit, NATO adopted the new Strategic Concept which set out NATO’s core tasks and priorities for the following decade. The 2012 Chicago Summit launched the Smart Defence initiative, enabling NATO Allies to work closer together to make better use of limited resources to develop new capabilities, and endorsed the Connected Forces Initiative to keep their forces more connected through increased training and exercises even after the conclusion of the ISAF mission. In 2014, in light of Russia’s aggressive action in Ukraine and the rise of instability in the wider Middle East, NATO strengthened its collective defence. At the Wales Summit, NATO leaders adopted a Readiness Action Plan to respond even faster to any threats and took further steps to enhance cooperation with partners around the world.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen oversaw the handover of security responsibility from the NATO-led ISAF mission to Afghan security forces. In 2011, he directed the successful UN-mandated military mission to protect the people of Libya against attack.
Mr. Fogh Rasmussen term expires after 5 years and 2 months at the helm of the Alliance. He will be succeeded by Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, former Prime Minister of Norway, on 1 October 2014.