British PM, NATO chief meet on Libya, Afghanistan

09:05, June 17, 2011      

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British Prime Minister David Cameron has met NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen here to discuss Afghanistan and Libya, according to the official website of the prime minister's office on Thursday.

Speaking at the start of their meeting on Wednesday at Downing Street No. 10, Cameron said their talks would cover broad issues, including NATO operations in Afghanistan and Libya.

On Libya, Cameron praised NATO forces for doing an excellent job, noting that "time was running out" for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"Pressure is building militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically on Gaddafi who is running out of time, running out of friends," he said.

Rasmussen said: "Britain is pillar of NATO... I want to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the British troops in Afghanistan and in other NATO-led operations."

Stressing NATO is more needed and wanted than ever, Rasmussen said:"During a period of economic austerity we need cooperation, collective solutions to make the most of the money we spend on defense and security."

Following the meeting, a Downing Street spokesperson said Cameron and Rasmussen discussed the current challenges facing NATO. Rasmussen welcomed Britain's strong commitment and contribution to the alliance.

They agreed on the need to strengthen NATO's ability to respond flexibly to changing priorities and discussed the benefits for countries to work together to develop their defense capabilities in an efficient way.

"They noted that NATO had significantly degraded Gaddafi's military ability and they committed to maintaining the operation until the Libyan people are free to determine their own future. They agreed that NATO should continue to ramp up the pressure on Gaddafi," the spokesman said.

On Afghanistan, the two leaders discussed the transition of security responsibilities to Afghanistan and agreed that Afghan security forces are increasingly capable of providing security in their country.

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