NATO will start transition to Afghanistan this year: Rasmussen

13:01, April 24, 2010      

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday that the alliance would start handing over responsibility for Afghanistan to Afghan authorities this year.

Following a meeting here of NATO foreign ministers with non-NATO International Security Assistance Force contributing nations, Fogh Rasmussen told reporters "our aims in 2010 are clear: to take the initiative against the insurgency; to help the Afghan Government exercise its sovereignty; and to start handing over responsibility for Afghanistan to the Afghans."

Fogh Rasmussen said that "citizens in Afghanistan and in all troop contributing countries are demanding visible progress. And they are right to insist on that."

The NATO chief said the coalition was making progress in Afghanistan, and he expected that "we will start handing over responsibility to the Afghans this year."

"Today, we agreed on the approach we will take to transition. We set out a process, the conditions that will have to be met and what we will do to make those conditions happen," Rasmussen said the prospective transition "must be not just sustainable, but irreversible."

Fogh Rasmussen also elaborated on the alliance's stance on nuclear issues and missile defense.

He said the ministers agreed that decisions on nuclear policy would be made by all member states together and the alliance "must continue to maintain a balance between credible deterrence, and support for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation."

Missile defense is no replacement for nuclear deterrence, but can complement it, he said, adding that NATO wants cooperation on missile defense with Russia.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:祁澍文)

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