NATO sets priorities for 2011, eyeing dialogue with China

19:42, January 25, 2011      

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The NATO's chief has set three priorities for the alliance in 2011, including transition in Afghanistan, reform and more effective partnership, particularly seeking dialogue with China, India and other key players in the world.

"This spring will see a new stage of our engagement in Afghanistan, with the announcement of the first provinces where Afghan forces are ready to take the lead," NATO Secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters on Monday.

At a summit last November, the alliance decided to start the transfer of responsibility for security to the Afghan army and police at the beginning of 2011 and complete it by 2014.

"In 2010, we got the strategy and the resources right. Now we have to build on those gains and get transition to Afghan security lead right. Last year, we made hard-fought changes on the ground. Now we need to ensure those changes are durable," he said.

On NATO reform, Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance would map out plans to cut the agencies, streamline the command structure and develop most critical capabilities, such as missile defense.

In addition, the NATO chief said that "this year will be an important year for partnerships" while the alliance would boost " its partnerships with countries and organizations with whom we share common security concerns and can cooperate for the benefit of international security."

"We are not alone in facing emerging security challenges, such as terrorism, proliferation, cyber, energy or piracy -- and neither can we deal with them effectively on our own. So we will seek to develop a dialogue with countries such as China, India and other key actors around the world," he stressed.

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