Gates Terms NATO Summit ‘Tremendous Success’

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia — The NATO sum­mit that con­clud­ed yes­ter­day in Lis­bon, Por­tu­gal, was a “tremen­dous suc­cess” from the U.S. stand­point, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today.
Gates arrived here this morn­ing to attend a con­fer­ence of West­ern Hemi­sphere defense min­is­ters.

In a round­table dis­cus­sion with reporters, the sec­re­tary said the sum­mit also was a suc­cess for Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma, who secured agree­ments on mis­sile defense, NATO reform, Afghanistan, a strate­gic part­ner­ship with Rus­sia and the alliance’s new strate­gic concept. 

“All of the things that we’ve been work­ing on for the last two years came to fruition in an extra­or­di­nary way in Lis­bon,” Gates said. 

On Afghanistan, the sec­re­tary not­ed that Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai was first to artic­u­late the goal of com­plet­ing tran­si­tion of respon­si­bil­i­ty for Afghanistan’s secu­ri­ty to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Now that NATO has agreed to that tar­get, he added, the Afghans will have to do their part to ensure success. 

“Hav­ing this goal out there for the Afghans, I think, has real val­ue,” he said. “And frankly, I think it also sends the mes­sage to many of our part­ners and per­haps to our own peo­ple that hav­ing been at war in Afghanistan for nine years or so, we do not antic­i­pate this thing going on forever.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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