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NATO to withdraw from Afghanistan, EU to stay

24.04.2012 - 11:15

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged more spending for security from the EU nations and denied the Alliance's involvement in CIA's secret prisons in Europe. Rasmussen has spoken on 23 April to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and answered questions on the 2011 operations in Libya, situation in Syria and the potential EU role in Afghanistan after the 2014 military withdrawal.

Rasmussen pointed out that “European allies are lacking a number of military assets", emphasising shortages in intelligence, surveillance and airborne refuelling capabilities. "EU nations must continue to invest in security smartly and also build the capability to use their investments", he added.

NATO Secretary General called the mission in Libya "a great success", underlining that "EU nations demonstrated they are willing and capable to lead NATO operations".  Nevertheless, he stressed that NATO has “no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria”, reiterating that NATO has no UN mandate to act and that it will not do so without one. Rasmussen added that NATO regards "a regional solution is a right way to move forward."

Role of the EU in Afghanistan after the military withdrawal was one of the key issues addressed by MEPs. "The training mission carried out by NATO should continue after year 2014,” Rasmussen said and added that details would be outlined at NATO's Chicago summit in May.

Special Representative and Head of the EU delegation to Afghanistan Vygaudas Ušackas pointed out that Afghanistan remains heavily dependent on the EU financial and development support. He stressed that “improving the rights of citizens and carrying out electoral reform are EU priorities” for the country, claiming the EU's contribution in education and security. "We will stay in Afghanistan after 2014 and we are committed helping it," Ušackas said.

Regarding the alleged CIA secret renditions in Europe, Rasmussen clarified that "NATO has of course in no way been involved in illegal activities", Rasmussen replied.