Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the North Altantic Council meeting in Foreign Ministers session

  • 07 Dec. 2011
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  • Last updated: 07 Dec. 2011 16:09

Opening Remarks. Left to right: Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero (NATO Deputy Secretary General) with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We held our last meeting in Berlin in April, just after we launched our operation to protect the people of Libya. With “Operation Unified Protector,” the Alliance showed resolve. It demonstrated resilience. And it proved its effectiveness.

We concluded our campaign successfully at the end of October. And as I could see with my own eyes during my visit to Tripoli, on the last day of the operation, the Libyan people can now look to the future with hope.

NATO, too, is looking to the future. Today, we will lay the groundwork for our next NATO Summit, in Chicago, in May.

First, on Afghanistan. This remains our first operational priority. And completing the process of transition to full Afghan security responsibility remains the focus of our current effort. At the Bonn conference earlier this week, the international community set out its long-term commitment to Afghanistan. And NATO will continue to play its full part. We will consider the type of support we could provide as part of our Enduring Partnership with Afghanistan beyond the end of transition in 2014. And we will start developing a package of practical assistance for approval at Chicago.

Deuxième point : les Balkans occidentaux. Nous restons fermement attachés à l'intégration euro-atlantique de tous les pays de la région. Mais cela demande d'autres réformes démocratiques. Et ces réformes doivent devenir réalité.

Notre engagement pour un Kosovo pacifique et stable est clair. Nous rejetons catégoriquement l'usage de la violence, y compris contre la KFOR, EULEX et d'autres acteurs internationaux. Et nous réaffirmons notre plein soutien aux troupes de la KFOR, qui s'emploient à rétablir la liberté de circulation, conformément au mandat de l'ONU.

L'accord sur les points de passage intégrés entre Belgrade et Pristina est une avancée constructive. Les deux parties doivent maintenant le mettre en œuvre de bonne foi, afin que la liberté de circulation puisse être pleinement rétablie dans la partie nord du Kosovo. Et nous appelons Belgrade et Pristina à poursuivre leur dialogue politique sous les auspices de l'Union européenne. Il en va de la sécurité de la région.

Third, missile defence. NATO heads of state and government decided last year to develop a system designed to defend against threats emanating from outside Europe. We will discuss progress, and the way ahead. And I am confident that, by the time of our Summit in Chicago next May, initial components of the system will be in place. I also hope that Russia can agree to cooperate with us on missile defence. So we can tackle new threats and old suspicions at the same time.

Finally, as significant events continue to unfold in North Africa and the Middle East, we need to deepen our dialogue and cooperation with countries from those regions that are interested in strengthening ties with us. For those who ask for assistance, we have unique expertise to share, especially in defence and security sector reform.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a milestone on the road to our Chicago summit. We will pave the way for important decisions. At Chicago, we will take forward the Alliance’s reform process. And we will ensure NATO’s ability to meet the complex security challenges of a changing world, with the right capabilities and an even stronger network of international partners.

Thank you.