Opening statement

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Defence Ministers meeting

  • 05 Oct. 2011 -
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  • Last updated: 05 Oct. 2011 16:49

Centre: Opening address by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to this meeting of NATO Defence Ministers. We will focus on our operations, and our capabilities. And we will look ahead to our Summit meeting in Chicago next May.

In Libya, together with our partners, we have been remarkably successful in support of the United Nations. We have saved countless lives. And helped the Libyan people to take their destiny in their own hands – and out of the grip of Colonel Qadhafi.

We are encouraged by progress in Libya. And we will continue to protect civilians under the United Nations mandates and at the request of the National Transition Council.

We have therefore agreed to extend Operation Unified Protector, and to keep the situation under regular review. We will continue our mission for as long as necessary. But we are determined to bring it to an end as soon as possible.

In Afghanistan, transition is on track. And insurgents will not be allowed to derail it. Afghans have already taken the lead for the security of one quarter of the population. I expect the next phase of transition to be announced soon, and to be just as significant, so that we can complete the process by the end of 2014.

But our commitment to the Afghan people will not end there. We are working with our partners in ISAF on a long-term strategic partnership with Afghanistan. And we intend to endorse it at our NATO Summit in Chicago next May.

Our operations in Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere demonstrate that NATO is the indispensable Alliance. And that we have a major part to play in the international community’s efforts to build stability and security.

Mais pour rester indispensables, nous devons pouvoir réagir rapidement et efficacement aux défis nouveaux. Et nous devons avoir accès à un ensemble complet de capacités.

Pour notre opération en Libye, les Alliés européens, le Canada et nos partenaires ont fourni la majeure partie des moyens. Mais le succès de cette opération dépendait de capacités uniques et essentielles que seuls les États-Unis pouvaient offrir. Des capacités telles que des drones et des moyens de surveillance et de renseignement.

Il est vital que les capacités de ce type soient disponibles de manière plus large au sein de notre Alliance. Et en période d’austérité, il faut que nous obtenions un meilleur rendement pour l’argent que nous consacrons à la défense. La défense intelligente est la voie à suivre. Nous devons définir des priorités. Nous spécialiser. Et rechercher des solutions multinationales – non seulement pour les acquisitions, mais aussi pour la logistique et la formation.

Nous développons actuellement un paquet de projets multinationaux spécifiques d’une réelle valeur opérationnelle, que la défense intelligente peut nous aider à concrétiser. Nous ferons le point sur ces travaux à notre réunion. De manière à pouvoir nous mettre d’accord sur des solutions à notre sommet de Chicago.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our meeting here today and tomorrow is an important stepping stone towards the Summit. We have a full agenda. It is ambitious, but also realistic. It reflects NATO’s indispensable role in meeting the security challenges of today – and standing ready for the challenges of the future.

And with that, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, I thank you for joining us.