Opening statement

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at meeting on Afghanistan with Heads of State and Government

  • 20 Nov. 2010 -
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  • Last updated: 20 Nov. 2010 11:07

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen opens the meeting. Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left).

Today marks the beginning of a new phase in our mission in Afghanistan. We will launch the process by which the Afghan government will take leadership for security throughout the country, district by district, province by province. The direction, starting today, is clear: towards Afghan leadership, and Afghan ownership. That is the vision President Karzai has set out. It is a vision we share, and we will make it a reality, starting early next year.

But let there be no doubt of our continuing commitment. Afghanistan’s fight against terrorism is of strategic, global importance. Success matters as much to us as it does to the Afghan people. Which is why we will agree here today a long-term partnership between NATO and Afghanistan, to endure beyond the end of our combat mission. If the enemies of Afghanistan have the idea that they can just wait it out until we leave, they have the wrong idea. We will stay as long as it takes to finish our job.

Les forces de sécurité afghanes et les forces internationales ont consenti d’énormes sacrifices dans cette lutte commune contre le terrorisme, et nous leur rendons hommage. Notre mission a, par ailleurs, une dimension véritablement globale, à la fois militaire et civile. Aussi, permettez moi d'accueillir et de remercier nos partenaires internationaux qui ont pris place autour de cette table, et notamment le secrétaire général de l'Organisation des Nations Unies, M. Ban Ki‑moon.

The decisions we will take here today mark a decisive step forward towards the goal we all share: to see Afghanistan stand on its own feet and provide for its own security.

May I now ask the members of the press to now leave the room. Many thanks.