NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen meeting with the Prime Minister of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, 9/10/10.

From the Office of the Prime Minister of SpainJosé Luis Rodríguez Zapatero informed the Secretary-General of NATO that the commitment of the Spanish Government will be maintained until the end of the mission. He also confirmed that the number of Guardia Civil officers in Afghanistan will not be increased.

The meeting held at Moncloa Palace between the President of the Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and the Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was mainly focused on the mission in Afghanistan and the NATO summit that will take place in Lisbon in November, which the President of the Spanish Government described as "of the utmost importance".

At the joint press conference held after the meeting with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the President of the Government said that we have reached a crucial moment for the mission in Afghanistan, the objectives of which are "to convert it into a different country, a safe country, a country that protects Afghan citizens and where a viable future can be guaranteed".

At the start of his speech, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero recalled the 92 Spanish victims of the mission in Afghanistan and, in particular, the two Guardia Civil officers and their interpreter who were killed recently in Afghanistan.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen also remembered the victims and their families, whose sacrifice he stressed "has not been in vain" because they have helped stop Afghanistan regressing into a safe haven for terrorists.

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero recalled that Spain’s commitment to the mission, under the auspices of NATO and backed by the UN, has been maintained for the last nine years and will be upheld, he added, until the end of the mission and until the region ceases to be "in favour of Islamic international terrorism or the Taliban".

Finally, the President of the Government expressed his conviction that the Lisbon Summit will be capable of establishing a process for speeding up the transfer of powers to the Afghan authorities.  (photo: La Moncloa)