Chicago Sun-Times
The 2012 NATO Chicago Summit brings world leaders to Chicago May 20-21

NATO Chicago Summit: Seeking payments from Russia, China for Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON--Russia and China need to help pay for NATO forces in Afghanistan, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday after a meeting of the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs and others in the run-up to the NATO Summit in Chicago in May.

"We will highly appreciate contributions from Russia, from China, from other international partners that are stakeholders in what is going on in Afghanistan and in the region," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen discussed the "road ahead" with NATO's 28 Allies, with 22 non-NATO members of the international force in Afghan with the Afghan foreign and defence ministers, with the European Union High Representative, the United Nations Special Representative and the foreign minister of Japan.

"At our summit in Chicago, one month from now, all these countries and organisations will come together at the highest level. Other countries who have an interest in Afghanistan's stability will join us too. I expect the leaders of around 60 countries and international organisations to join us. This will be the biggest summit NATO has ever held," Rasmussen said at a press conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

"And the reason is simple: Afghanistan is a concern for the whole world. We all want to see a country that is safer, stronger and more stable. That is what we are building together. And we are making progress.

"We are making progress on the ground. We have now trained more than 330,000 Afghan security forces. Afghan soldiers and police are providing security for areas where half the country's population lives - and I expect them to step forward in more areas soon, as transition takes hold across the country.

"On the contrary, we have a common interest in leaving behind a strong Afghan Security Force that can guarantee peace and stability and security in Afghanistan also beyond 2014.

"And this is the reason why we appeal to the whole international community to contribute to financing a strong Afghan Security Force after 2014. It's not just a responsibility for NATO or ISAF. We will highly appreciate contributions from Russia, from China, from other international partners that are stakeholders in what is going on in Afghanistan and in the region. So I think that's the best response to that statement that we would welcome financial contributions from Russia, China and other countries to ensure strong, sustainable Afghan Security Force beyond 2014."

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