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

NATO's Rasmussen meeting with Obama: Preparing for Chicago Summit

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below, from briefing from NATO spokesman as NATO Secretary General Rasmussen meets with President Obama on Wednesday. He also makes a visit to Capitol Hill....



Let me update you on the rest of NATO's agenda as we count down to the Summit.

As you know, the Secretary General has started his pre-summit visits. After his trips to Madrid and Rome, last week he went to London and Berlin. In London, he met Prime Minister Cameron, and Foreign Secretary William Hague, and in Berlin, he held talks with Chancellor Merkel and her team. Overall, there is agreement that the summit will focus on three main goals: Afghanistan - completing transition and defining our commitment after 2014; second, capabilities - building security in a time of austerity, and third, partnerships - strengthening our global network of partners at what will be the biggest NATO summit in history, with over 60 countries and organisations represented. There is also agreement that we're sticking to the timetable for transition in Afghanistan; we're sticking to the principle of in together our together; and we're sticking to our pledge of an enduring commitment to Afghanistan after transition is completed by the end of 2014.
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Tomorrow the Secretary General is heading to Washington, where he will be meeting President Obama to discuss the final preparations for the Chicago summit. And on Friday, he'll be holding his monthly press conference here in Brussels, at which he will outline in greater detail what he expects for the Summit.
As I am sure you have already seen, last week the Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow was in Moscow where he took part in the Missile Defence conference organised by the Russian Ministry of Defence. And in his speech, that is on the website, he stressed that NATO-Russia cooperation on missile defence could transform bilateral ties into a true strategic partnership. He also made clear, as did the Secretary General in Berlin last week, that our missile defence system is not directed against Russia and that cooperation between NATO and Russia would strengthen strategic stability and build confidence and trust. And as I am sure you know, in Chicago, we expect NATO leaders to announce an interim missile defence capability for NATO and of course our dialogue with Russia on cooperating on missile defence will continue beyond Chicago.
So that is it from me. If you have any other questions.
The briefing on Friday will take place at RĂ©sidence Palace, downtown, at 10:00am.

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