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Australian PM: NATO must adopt long-term strategy on Afghan issues
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10:55, March 19, 2008

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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said here on Wednesday he would attend next month's NATO summit in Bucharest to ensure it adopts a long-term strategy for success in Afghanistan.

"The reason I am going to Bucharest to attend the summit is very clear-cut -- I want to be confident that NATO collectively and the European contributors to it have embarked on a long-term strategy to secure success in Afghanistan and against fixed benchmarks," he told reporters.

"This government has got to have some confidence that there is a strategy agreed upon by all which is capable of ensuring or securing success in the long term," he added.

He also stressed that "if there is one criticism, which all are agreed on, it has been the failure so far to effectively integrate the military arm of the operation with the civilian arm of the operation to ensure there is a total strategy for Afghanistan countrywide."

Rudd, accompanied by Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, will be the first Australian prime minister to attend such a gathering.

Australia is not a member of NATO, but the 1,000 Australian troops in Afghanistan operate as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.


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