Afghanistan, capabilities and partnerships top busy Chicago Summit agenda

  • 11 May. 2012 -
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  • Last updated: 11 May. 2012 13:01

Afghanistan, future capabilities and strengthening partnerships will top the agenda of next week’s Chicago Summit, said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on 11 May 2012.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

The Secretary General said that the 20-21 May Summit will be an important meeting for the Alliance.

“This will be a summit of commitment. Commitment to complete transition in Afghanistan and to support Afghans achieve a stable future. Commitment to keep NATO capable to deal with the challenges of the 21st century. Commitment to strengthen even further the connections with our partners across the globe,” he told reporters at a press conference in Brussels.

The 20-21 May Summit will be the biggest meeting NATO has ever organised, with around 60 countries and organisations represented, the Secretary General said, adding that preparations for the meeting were on track. The Secretary General has met with several Alliance leaders including US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,  in the run up to the Summit.

On Afghanistan, the Summit is expected to set the course for the Alliance’s future engagement there. “We will complete our ISAF mission by the end of 2014 – but we will remain committed to a long-term partnership with the Afghan people,” the Secretary General said.

He said the mission was on track to complete transition to Afghan security by the end of 2014, as NATO nations agreed to do with Afghan President Hamid Karzai two years ago at their Lisbon Summit. The Secretary General said that at Chicago the Allies will make clear what NATO’s mission will be after 2014. “I expect NATO will train, advise and assist Afghan security forces,” he said. “That will be a new mission with a new role for NATO.” 
"In Chicago, we will also start to spell out our commitment to help finance the Afghan security forces of the future -as part of an international community effort, and together with the Afghans themselves", he said.
The Summit will also raise the issue of building future capabilities  in a period of tough economic times. “In Chicago, we will launch between 20 and 30 other multinational projects, including for better protection, better surveillance, and better maintenance,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen. “Our goal is NATO Forces 2020 – an Alliance that is fit for the next decade and beyond. And the way to get there is Smart Defence – a renewed culture of cooperation that allows all Allies to provide more security for our citizens even in an age of austerity.”

The Secretary General announced that at Chicago, Allies will strengthen their network of partnerships around the world. NATO will hold an expanded ISAF meeting including 22 non-NATO partners and a separate meeting with a group of 13 partner nations to recognise their important contributions to current and recent NATO missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Libya.

NATO foreign ministers will also hold talks with  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ and Georgia to discuss the Summit agenda.

“NATO is and will remain a transatlantic Alliance, but when it comes to security, the Chicago Summit will show that NATO is also partner of choice for world peace and security,” the Secretary General said.

  1. Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.