NATO Secretary General and US discuss NATO's 2011 Priorities

  • 31 Jan. 2011 - 01 Feb. 2011
  • |
  • Last updated: 04 Feb. 2011 12:40

The NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, concluded a successful two-day visit to Washington D.C. where he received strong US endorsement for his plans to turn the Lisbon Summit agreements into action in 2011, including the start of transition in Afghanistan, enhancing Alliance partnerships and following through with NATO Reform.

Left to right: Robert Gates (US Secretary of Defense) speaking with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Secretary General met with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, as well as with other senior members of the US Administration, to discuss NATO priorities in 2011 and how this work will culminate in the next NATO Summit, to be held in the United States in the first half of 2012.

On Afghanistan, the Secretary General expressed his appreciation for the continuing US support for the transition process towards Afghan security lead. "There is a shared sense of commitment," said Rasmussen. "NATO Allies and partners in the ISAF coalition provided nearly 10,000 additional troops over the last year, at the same time that President Obama decided to send an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. Now, together with our Afghan partners, we are on track to launch transition this spring, in order to build on the momentum we are seeing on the ground." The training of Afghan security forces remains the ticket to transition and the Secretary General stressed that the NATO training  mission in Afghanistan was a great success. "From now until transition is complete," Rasmussen said, "we will continue to need more trainers." 

Discussions also revolved around NATO's global partnerships and ways to enhance cooperation with influential countries and organisations interested in promoting security and stability around the globe. "Enhancing our partnership engagement is a priority and we agreed that Russia in particular is an important partner to both NATO and the US", said the Secretary General. "In 2011 we want to turn our political agreements with the Russian Federation into more practical cooperation including in Afghanistan and in fighting terrorism, as well as in coordinating our missile defence systems.”

The Secretary General also recognized the tough financial decisions the US and other Allies are facing this year. "Despite all the economic pressures, the US continues to show great leadership in its ability to reduce defence spending, while investing for the future. I have received strong US support for our NATO reform agenda, which must start to deliver efficiencies this year to continue to improve our effectiveness as an Alliance.”

The Secretary General wrapped up the visit by outlining the sequence of NATO ministerial meetings, in March, April and June, which will take these and other Alliance priorities forward towards the 2012 Summit in the United States.

During the visit, he also discussed NATO's priorities at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).