The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
November 28, 2006
NATO Summit 2006
Today, President Bush Thanked The People Of The Baltic States For Their Hospitality, Their Friendship, And The Courage They Are Showing In The NATO Alliance. NATO is the most effective multilateral organization in the world and the most important military alliance in history.
One Of The Great Responsibilities Of NATO Is To Strengthen And Expand The Circle Of Freedom In Europe
In The Nearly Six Decades Since NATO's Founding, Europe Has Experienced An Unprecedented Expansion Of Liberty. Yet many nations that threw off the shackles of tyranny are still working to build the free institutions that are the foundation of successful democracies.
We Are Transforming NATO For New Challenges
Under The Able Leadership Of Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, NATO Is Transforming From A Static Alliance Focused On The Defense Of Europe Into An Expeditionary Alliance Ready To Deploy Outside Of Europe In The Defense Of Freedom. Over the past six years, we have taken decisive action to transform the capabilities of our Alliance by creating:
At This Summit, We Are Taking New Steps To Build On This Progress. We will:
NATO's Most Basic Responsibility Is To Defend Its People Against The Threats Of This New Century
Afghanistan Is NATO's Most Important Military Operation. Since taking command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, NATO has expanded it from a small force that was operating only in Kabul into a robust force that conducts security operations in all of Afghanistan. NATO is helping train the Afghan National Army, and the Alliance is operating 25 Provincial Reconstruction Teams that are helping the central government extend its reach. At this moment, all 26 NATO allies, and 11 partner nations, are contributing forces to NATO's mission in Afghanistan.
Taliban And Al Qaeda Fighters, Drug Traffickers, Criminal Elements And Local Warlords Remain Active And Committed To Destroying Democracy In Afghanistan - And Defeating Them Will Require The Full Commitment Of Our Alliance. For NATO to succeed, its commanders on the ground must have the resources and flexibility they need to do their jobs.
Every Ally Can Take Pride In The Transformation That NATO Is Making Possible For The People Of Afghanistan. A nation that was once a terrorist sanctuary has been transformed into an ally in the War on Terror - led by a brave President, Hamid Karzai. Because of our efforts:
NATO Allies Are Making Vital Contributions To The Struggle For Freedom In Iraq
At This Moment, A Dozen NATO Allies - Including Every One Of The Baltic Nations - Are Contributing Forces To The Coalition In Iraq. And 18 NATO countries plus Ukraine are contributing forces to the NATO Training Mission that is helping develop the next generation of leaders for the Iraqi Security Forces. NATO has also helped Iraqis stand up a new military academy near Baghdad and has contributed $128 million in military equipment to the Iraqi military.
NATO Has A Responsibility To Lift Up And Support The Moderates And Reformers Who Are Working For Change Across The Broader Middle East
The Battles In Iraq And Afghanistan Are Part Of A Struggle Between Moderation And Extremism That Is Unfolding Across The Broader Middle East. The War on Terror we fight today is more than a military conflict - it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. And in this struggle, we can accept nothing less than victory. We see this struggle in:
Freedom In Europe Has Brought Peace To Europe - And Freedom Has The Power To Bring Peace To The Broader Middle East. There was a time when many doubted liberty could succeed in Europe. Yet today, the Cold War is over, the Soviet Union is no more, and the NATO alliance is meeting in the capital of a free Latvia. Europe no longer produces armed ideologies that threaten other nations with aggression, conquest, and occupation, and a continent that was for generations a source of instability and global war has become a source of stability and peace.