NATO Summit: Monday Live Coverage from McCormick Place
Editor's note: Red Line Project reporters AnnCatherine Brady, Laura Funk, Katie Kormann and Ryann Rumbaugh are reporting live from the summit at McCormick Place. Check this page regularly for updates and read the social media coverage of the summit. Also: Sunday's summit coverage
By Laura Funk
The Red Line Project
Posted: Monday, May 21, 2012
Obama, Rasmussen Lay Out Plans for Afghanistan
Day two of the NATO summit began Monday with a few brief remarks by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and President Obama on future plans in Afghanistan.
“This is the largest ever gathering at a NATO summit,” Rasmussen said. “It is a testament to our shared commitment to the Afghan people and the future of Afghanistan.”
Rasmussen restated the overall goals projected to occur in the upcoming years in Afghanistan and the ISAF mission of transitioning full security over to the Afghan forces by 2014.
“As Afghan forces step up, our forces will step back into a supporting role, focusing on training, advising and assisting our Afghan partners,” he said.
NATO's commitment is for the long-term, Rasmussen said. From 2015, a maintained NATO-led presence is expected.
“This is a truly international mission,” Obama said. The region and the world have a profound interest in an Afghanistan that is stable, that is secure and that is not a source of attacks on other nations.”
Today will decide the next phase of the transition and will set a goal for Afghan forces to take a lead for combat operations across the country in 2013, he said. Today is also an opportunity to ensure the progress is preserved.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Obama said.
Clinton Says U.S. Committed to 'Open Door' Policy
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton touched on the four countries aspiring toward NATO membership – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – and the United States’ commitment to the Open Door policy.
Monday’s meeting demonstrates how strongly those four countries are linked to the alliance and how much NATO leaders want to further strengthen those ties, NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow said.
The possibility of NATO membership has proven to be a powerful motivation for countries to implement difficult but necessary reforms, resolve internal differences, as well as differences with their neighbors, and contribute to security that benefits themselves and surrounding nations, Clinton said.
“Our Open Door policy has produced some of our most active and committed allies,” she said. “The United States remains deeply committed to the Open Door policy.”
NATO supports their aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration and will keep working with each of them, both bilateral and through NATO, to help them implement the reforms needed to meet the standards for membership, Clinton said.
“I believe this summit should be the last summit this is not an enlargement summit,” she said.
Any country that wishes to join NATO is looked upon to demonstrate that they share the same values and are willing and able to meet the membership standards, Clinton said.
“Remember our ultimate goal – a stronger, more durable, more effective NATO,” she said.