NATO Chief:  Lisbon “will be one of the most important summits in NATO’s history”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addresses a news conference ahead of NATO

From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO:  We are now just days away from the Lisbon Summit. And based on the progress we are making across the board I’m confident that this will be one of the most important summits in NATO’s history.

The Summit will put in place an Alliance that is more effective, more engaged and more efficient. More effective because NATO will invest in key capabilities like missile defence, cyber defence and strategic and tactical airlift. More engaged because NATO will reach out to connect with our partners around the globe, countries and other organizations. And more efficient because we are cutting fat, even as we invest in muscle. For example, by slimming down our command structure by about 5,000 personnel.

A decision to develop a NATO-based missile defence to protect our populations would be a major step. It would make our territorial defence even more effective and it would bind the allies even stronger together. And the decision to reform and rationalise our command structures, our agencies, and our headquarters will make the Alliance fit for purpose and ready to meet the security challenges of the 21st Century.

All of that will be enshrined in the new Strategic Concept. The new Strategic Concept will guide the Alliance for the next decade. It will serve as a lever for continuous reform towards a more effective, efficient and flexible Alliance so that our taxpayers get the most security for the money they invest in defence. Which makes the new Strategic Concept a key outcome of the Summit. …

So overall, based on these concrete results, a new Strategic Concept, the start of a new phase in Afghanistan, and a fresh start with Russia, the Lisbon Summit will be substantial. It will shape the future of our Alliance. It will reinforce the foundations that have made NATO the most successful Alliance in history. And it will set out an agenda for change to ensure the same success in the coming decades. 

Excerpts from press briefing by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.  (photo: Reuters)

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