Obama and NATO SG pledge to chart the next phase of Afghan transition
Chicago / Washington, May 21, 2012 (PAN): Led by the US President, leaders of the powerful NATO countries pledged to chart the next phase of transition in Afghanistan, as their two-day meeting kicked off on Sunday.
“Over the next two days, we’ll meet -- first as allies and then with (Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai and our international partners -- to chart the next phase of the transition in Afghanistan,” Obama said in his address to the NATO leaders during the inaugural session of the meeting.
“Just as we’ve sacrificed together for our common security, we will stand together, united, in our determination to complete this mission,” Obama said. Leaders of more than 60 countries are attending the two-day NATO Summit.
Obama said he looks forward to their meeting with NATO’s neighbors and partners around the world who have been so critical to NATO operations as in Afghanistan and Libya. “It will be another reminder that NATO is truly a hub of a network of global security partners. There is nothing else like it on Earth,” he said.
The NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said: “Together we will chart the course of our future engagement in Afghanistan. We will make sure we will complete transition to Afghan security lead by the end of 2014 and we would make clear to our long term partnership with Afghan people beyond 2014 so that Afghanistan never harbors terrorist that can attack us home and so that Afghans can look forward to a better future in a stable region.”
Obama said for over 65 years, the alliance has been the bedrock of their common security, of freedom and of prosperity. “And though the times may have changed, the fundamental reason for our alliance has not,” he said.
“Our nations are stronger and more prosperous when we stand together. In good times and in bad, our alliance has endured; in fact, it has thrived -- because we share an unbreakable commitment to the freedom and security of our citizens,” he said.
“We’ve seen this from the Cold War to the Balkans, from Afghanistan to Libya. And that’s the spirit that we need to sustain here in Chicago, and with an alliance that is focused squarely on the future,” he said.
“When we last met in Lisbon, we agreed to a bold plan of action to revitalize the alliance and ensure that we have the tools that are required to confront a changing and uncertain strategic landscape,” Obama said.
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