Press point

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following his visit to UK Prime Minister David Cameron

  • 03 Feb. 2014
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  • Last updated 10-Feb-2014 14:12

Press point by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following his meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN (NATO Secretary General): I've just had a very fruitful meeting with the Prime Minister.  We have discussed a lot of international issues, including of course our mission in Afghanistan.  But first and foremost we had discussed preparations for the NATO Summit which will take place in Wales on the 4th and 5th of September. 
Planning is progressing and I see three major themes for that summit.  It will be about the future of our Alliance.  The future of NATO will be about modernizing our military capabilities; making sure that we further develop our ability to work and operate together within the Alliance and with our partners.  And that's exactly another part of future NATO: an enhanced partnership with countries around the world. 

The future of NATO is also about the TransAtlantic relationship, cooperation with North America... between North America and the European...  And I would expect the summit to adopt a declaration on TransAtlantic security. 

And finally, of course, the summit will be on Afghanistan; because we are going to complete our ISAF combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of this year.  We are prepared to deploy a new training mission from the 1st of January 2015, provided of course that we get an invitation.

Q:  Do you expect that summit to have Hamid Karzai or his successors a signature on the document you need to stay there beyond this year?

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: We will need a security agreement to actually deploy a training mission after 2014.  At the end of the day, I think we will get that signature; because a lot is at stake for Afghanistan.  One thing is that while we do believe the Afghan security forces will be able to take full responsibility for security in Afghanistan, we also believe that they will need continued training and assistance. 

But quite another thing is that if we are not present in Afghanistan after 2014, it might also be difficult to generate sufficient financial resources to actually sustain the Afghan security forces.  And if not, the Afghan government can't afford to pay salaries to the Afghan security forces.  So that would be a major challenge for Afghanistan.

Q:  Secretary General, CNN International, in light to numerous reports recently, how ready is NATO to assist in destruction of Syria's chemical weapons?

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN:  First of all, let me stress that it is the responsibility of the United Nations to make sure that the elimination of chemical weapons take place in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution, of course, in cooperation with the Syrian government. 

And I urge the Syrian authorities to make sure that the destruction of chemical weapons takes place within the deadlines made out in the Security Council resolution. So it's not a NATO task. But NATO and Russia have declared that if requested, we're willing to consider whether we can support the United Nations in its endeavours one way or the other.

Q:  Do you want..? Britain is frustrated, back on Afghanistan, with not being able to make those plans... for the training mission had not worked; because you lack perhaps Karzai making an opening to get Karzai's permission on that document.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN:  Of course, time is of the essence.  We have to plan for a new training mission. But we also have to plan for the possibility that we will not be invited. And if we are not invited to stay after 2014, we'll have to withdraw everything, equipment and personnel before the end of 2014.  And it takes some time to close down bases, to move out equipment and personnel.  So obviously we are faced with some planning problems. But we deal with that effectively. And as I said, I do believe that at the end of the day we will get a signature on the security, the necessary security arrangements.