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Print Edition> World
UPDATED: November 29, 2010 NO. 48 DECEMBER 2, 2010
A Global Future
NATO reaches out while looking ahead during its latest summit

FORGING PARTNERSHIP: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (right) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai sign an agreement on the establishment of a long-term partnership in Lisbon on November 20, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon looks on (WU WEI)

The threats facing NATO's member states are becoming ever-more global. It is hard for NATO to address such threats effectively while remaining a regional military organization. NATO must properly handle relations with Russia and other regional powers, as well as with other international organizations including the EU and the UN.

Rasmussen said NATO and Russia should create a "security roof" for the entire Euro-Atlantic area. NATO's new priorities include the development of a new defense shield to protect against missile attacks. And the alliance hopes to cooperate with Russia in constructing the new system.

U.S. President Barack Obama also expressed hope for cooperation. "In Lisbon we can make it clear that NATO sees Russia as a partner, not an adversary," he wrote in the International Herald Tribune before the summit. "By moving ahead with cooperation on missile defense, we can turn a source of past tension into a source of cooperation against a shared threat."

Russia agreed to cooperate with NATO in building the new missile defense system in Europe. The two sides will restore their previous cooperation on the theater missile defense system, and will study the possibility of cooperation on a territorial anti-missile system.

NATO and Russian experts are to hold meetings to discuss how to technically link their missile defense systems. They will submit a technical report before the NATO-Russia Council Summit in June 2011.

In addition to cooperation on missile defense, Russia also agreed to expand cooperation with NATO on the Afghanistan issue at Medvedev's meeting with NATO leaders on November 20. They will expand NATO's transport corridor within the Russian border, and will strengthen the training of Afghan anti-narcotics officers.

Rasmussen said the agreement reached during the summit marked a transitional point in NATO-Russia relations.

Medvedev said this summit was a very important step for strengthening Russia-NATO relations.

"NATO must improve its relations with Russia, so as to prove its status as a military and political bloc that can contribute to European security," said Xing. "So it decided to build the missile defense system jointly with Russia to eliminate Russia's doubts on this issue."

Improved relations with Russia would be noticeable in NATO's external relations in the future, he added. But, the development of the relationship will not go smoothly, due to pre-existing differences.

Afghanistan was also a focus of the summit. On the second day of the summit, Rasmussen and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed an agreement to establish a long-term partnership between them, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as the witness.

NATO leaders officially determined a timetable to hand over control of security to the Afghan Government. The shift of power will begin in early 2011 and will be complete by the end of 2014. Beyond 2014, NATO troops in Afghanistan will be responsible for training Afghan forces, but will not engage in combat.

During the summit, NATO also summarized the war in Afghanistan and admitted military means alone are unable to solve the problems in Afghanistan. And NATO stressed it should strengthen cooperation with relevant countries and international organizations, and implement a comprehensive solution, including civil and military aspects.


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