15 November 2010
Just a few days before NATO Heads of State and Government meet, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Lisbon will be one of the most important Summits in NATO’s history. The decisions that Allies are expected to take at the end of this week in Portugal will ensure that NATO is more effective, more engaged and more efficient than ever before.
"More effective, because NATO will invest in key capabilities like missile defence
, cyber defence
and long-range transport
. More engaged, because NATO will reach out to connect with our partners around the globe, countries and other organisations. And more efficient, because we are cutting fat, even as we invest in muscle, for example by slimming down our Command Structure by about 4000 personnel", the Secretary General stated. "All of that will be enshrined in the new Strategic Concept. It will guide the Alliance for the next decade".
The Secretary General said that the Summit will also mark a fundamentally new phase in NATO’s operation in Afghanistan, as Allies will launch in Lisbon the process by which the Afghan government will take the lead for security throughout the country.
"We will start early next year", the Secretary General highlighted, "and, as conditions allow, we aim to complete the process by 2014."
The Summit will also mark a fresh start with NATO’s relationship with Russia.
"My strong sense is Russia shares our view that the time has finally come to stop worrying about each other. The time has come to work together", he emphasised. "I hope we will also explore missile defence cooperation".
The Secretary General announced that NATO will deepen cooperation with Russia on Afghanistan and will work with Russia on a joint review of security challenges that NATO and Russia are facing.
Finally, the Secretary General stressed that the Lisbon Summit will reinforce the foundations that have made NATO the most successful Alliance in history and set out an agenda for change to ensure the same success in the coming decade.