SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia, Nov. 21, 2010 – 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.”