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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Strategic Communications and Planning > Key Policy Fact Sheets > 2006
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
November 24, 2006

The NATO Riga Summit

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An Alliance that Continues to Deliver

"All that we hope to achieve together requires that America and Europe remain close partners. We are the pillars of the free world. We face the same threats and share the same belief in freedom and the rights of every individual." ~President George W. Bush

Allied Heads of State and Government will meet in Riga, Latvia November 28-29, for a NATO Summit. This meeting will demonstrate a united transatlantic community, acting together to address the global challenges of the 21st century.

NATO Operations: Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, The Mediterranean, Darfur -- support for the African Unions mission, Pakistan--earthquake humanitarian reliefWhy NATO?

NATO is a unique international security organization where North America and Europe, the great pillars of the transatlantic democratic community, come together for strategic consultations and common action to protect against threats and address common concerns.

NATO Priorities

Afghanistan, more than 2,000 miles from Europe’s frontiers, is NATO’s top issue and one of the greatest challenges of its 57-year history. The NATO-led U.N.-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is now helping the Afghan government to establish security and stability throughout the country. About 32,000 troops from all 26 Allies and 11 partner countries are working to provide a secure environment in which development and reconstruction can take place.

Afghanistan is the engine driving NATO’s transformation, as Allies recognize the importance of being able to deploy and sustain forces at strategic distance. They also see the need for investing more in 21st century military capabilities.

Building Critical Capabilities
The Riga Summit is showcasing the Alliance’s efforts to build critical capabilities like strategic airlift to move soldiers, equipment, and material to wherever threats might arise around the globe. Fifteen Allies and one partner have agreed to invest over $650 million in a small fleet of C-17 aircraft. The NATO Response Force, the Alliance’s quick reaction force of 25,000 troops, can act where and when it is needed. NATO is also an increasingly active trainer, with ongoing programs in Iraq, Darfur and Afghanistan. The U.S. would like the Alliance to offer training more broadly in Africa and the Middle East, building ties with these critical regions.

Growth and Partnership
NATO plays an enduring role as a mentor and magnet to new democracies in the Euro-Atlantic area. Its door will remain open to new potential member countries.

NATO must also recognize the vital role played by its partners, who are committing their troops and resources to Alliance missions in places like Afghanistan and Kosovo. Because NATO is taking action across the globe, at Riga, Allies will agree to work more seamlessly and flexibly with partners outside of NATO, such as Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, who share our values and can contribute to our efforts.






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