Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at Informal Working Lunch of the North Atlantic Council with non-NATO ISAF Contributing Nations in Bratislava

  • 23 Oct. 2009
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  • Last updated: 23 Oct. 2009 14:34

Good afternoon.
Let me begin by welcoming the Defence Ministers of our non-NATO ISAF contributing nations. Defence Minister Wardak, it is of course a pleasure to have you with us again. Let me also give a warm welcome to UN Special Representative Kai Eide and to Mme Claude-France Arnould, representing the EU High Representative. I want to say to you, Kai, as I did in a statement last week, that you have our gratitude for your leadership and our full support. And finally, let me welcome the participation in our meeting of the Minister of Defence of Armenia, as his country is participating for the first time as a non-NATO ISAF contributing nation. And I would like to tell you how much we appreciate your contributions to our common mission. Your contributions are absolutely vital for our operation and as Secretary General of NATO I will do my utmost to ensure a close dialogue and close cooperation with you.

This morning we had an initial discussion of Afghanistan. We will continue that discussion now. We will also address our shared priorities for 2009 and 2010, and transition to Afghan leadership.

Le fait que le gouvernement afghan et la mission des Nations Unies en Afghanistan soient représentés ici aujourd'hui est important. Nous répétons depuis des années qu'il ne peut y avoir de solution purement militaire au problème de l'Afghanistan. Mais, je serai plus direct encore : il faut que dans nos pays, qui envoient leur jeunes soldats sur le terrain, les opinions publiques perçoivent le gouvernement afghan comme un partenaire crédible et efficace dans le cadre de cette opération militaire. Elles sont en droit d'attendre que les actions civiles et militaires s'appuient et se renforcent mutuellement. L'envoi de forces supplémentaires ne saurait remplacer une approche véritablement globale ni un solide leadership afghan.

This must be a true team effort. The entire international community must work together to bring security, peace and prosperity to the government and people of Afghanistan. NATO will do its part, for as long as necessary, and this meeting is a visible demonstration of our commitment to pulling in the same direction.