U.S., NATO leaders stress need for bloc's reform

17:19, September 08, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama and visiting NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen agreed Tuesday the military bloc needs to be more "agile and efficient" to meet common challenges facing all its members.

At an Oval Office meeting, the two leaders also discussed goals for the upcoming Nov. 19-20 NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, said a statement from the White House Press Office.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and National Security Advisor James Jones also joined the meeting.

The NATO summit is expected to unveil a new strategic concept "that reinforces the allied commitment to invest in 21st century capabilities, particularly missile defense, cyber defense and civilian-military capabilities," said the statement.

The concept will also call for reforming NATO's structures to make it "more agile and efficient to take on the range of challenges that face allied countries today."

During the meeting, Obama and Rasmussen "affirmed NATO's role as the hub of a network of security partnerships that advance global stability," the statement said.

Obama thanked Rasmussen for NATO allies'contribution to the U.S.-led war efforts in Afghanistan, and the two also discussed strategies for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

NATO said in its website both sides agreed that there is now "a clear roadmap" for a conditions-based transition of responsibility for security to the Afghan lead, beginning next year.

The Obama administration has boosted the Afghan training mission and announced plans to increase the total Afghan army and police force from nearly 250,000 to over 300,000 by late next year, in preparation for the exit of U.S. combat troops in July 2011 as announced by Obama in December 2009.

Source: Xinhua


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