Joint Press Point with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras
Opening remarks by the Secretary General
It is a great pleasure to be back in Athens, and to meet you, Prime Minister.
Greece holds a special place in Western history. The Acropolis, which lies at the heart of this city, is the birthplace of democracy, which is the principle at the heart of NATO.
Greece holds a special place within the Alliance. For more than 60 years, you have been a vital part of NATO, committed to our shared security, and our shared values.
I know how much Greece has suffered from the economic crisis. And so I thank you all the more for your continued commitment to NATO’s work.
Greek troops are playing an important role in Kosovo. Greece supports our ISAF mission in Afghanistan. And Greece plays an active role in our political consultations.
Next year, we will hold a summit in the United Kingdom to shape the Alliance of the future. And I know that Greece, and you, Prime Minister, will play a full role in that summit.
The summit will be an opportunity to recognise the contributions and the sacrifice of service men and women from all fifty ISAF nations. To review the progress made by the Afghan forces in securing their own country. And to prepare the next, and different, chapter in our commitment to Afghanistan.
It will ensure that we continue to build on the lessons we have learnt through twenty years of operations, to strengthen the Alliance and keep it ready to deal with modern security challenges.
It will reaffirm the vital transatlantic bond on which NATO is founded. And it will enhance our partnerships, which are key to our future success in a world where risks cross borders and we are all interconnected.
These will be vital to the future NATO. They will demand strong and continued commitment from Allies on both sides of the Atlantic. And Greece’s voice will be a vital part of the debate.
So I look forward, Prime Minister, to working with you closely as we begin to prepare for the summit.