WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama said Friday that Nato will hold a summit next year on the “final chapter” in its Afghan war and on a new training mission for after combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014.
Obama made the announcement as he met Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen for White House talks, also focusing on modernizing the alliance's forces and the need to stabilize Libya's borders.
But the US president would not say whether the talks also focused on the building regional security challenge posed by Syria's civil war, or any contingency plans that Nato might be making to intervene.
Obama said he and Rasmussen talked about steps that could be taken after 2014 to ensure that “Afghan security forces are effective and can control their own borders and that Nato members can be assured that Afghanistan will not be used as a base for terrorism in the future.”
”What we agreed to is that in order for us to facilitate this entire process, it would be appropriate for us to have another Nato summit next year,” Obama said.
He added that the summit, with a date and venue yet to be confirmed, would “underscore this final chapter in our Afghan operations,” and throw light on Nato's future non-combat, training mission in the country.
Rasmussen said that the Nato mission in Afghanistan would next year reach an “important milestone” with the withdrawal of combat troops and transition to a training, advising and assisting posture.
“Our goal is in sight,” Rasmussen said, defining that goal as “an Afghanistan that can stand on its own feet but the Afghans will not stand alone.
“We are prepared for an enduring partnership with the Afghan people.” Obama did not respond to shouted questions by reporters about whether Syria came up in the talks.