NATO Secretary General holds talks with President Obama

  • 30 May. 2013 - 31 May. 2013
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  • Last updated: 01 Jun. 2013 09:00

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed Afghanistan, NATO’s future challenges and other global and regional security issues with United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday (31 May 2013). The Secretary General thanked the US President for his "strong commitment to a strong NATO."

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and US President Barack Obama in the White House Oval Office

On Afghanistan, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said that the ISAF mission was within reach of its goal to ensure that Afghans take full responsibility for their own security. “Soon we will reach an important milestone. The Afghans will take the lead for security across the country and our forces will move into a support role,” said the Secretary General. He said the Alliance is planning "a very different, non-combat mission" in Afghanistan "with a significantly lower number of troops" to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces after the completion of the ISAF mission in 2014.

The Secretary General and the US President also discussed how to keep NATO forces fit and ready to deal with any challenges the future might bring, from terrorism to cyber-attacks, outlining the transition "from a deployed NATO to a prepared NATO" as ISAF draws down. Stressing that in tough economic times, NATO collectively "is far more effective and far more secure than any individual national capability," the Secretary General welcomed President's Obama support for a NATO summit in 2014.

The Secretary General also met with US Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, and other senior US officials.

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen concluded his visit to Washington by meeting young professionals from the Truman National Security Project.