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Obama Hails Result of NATO Summit


U.S. President Barack Obama has hailed the results of the just ended NATO summit on the French-German border. Both the president and his proposals for Afghanistan received a warm welcome from the alliance.

President Obama says he is pleased his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan received solid support from the NATO allies.

"You had NATO putting its stamp of approval on what I believe is a well thought out and hard-headed strategy and approach to Afghanistan, but also the need to deal with the interaction between Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said.

NATO agreed to commit more manpower and money. It will get heavily involved in training the Afghan military and police. More troops will be sent in to help with security in the run up to Afghanistan's national elections in August. And there will be increased funding and personnel for development.

"We will need more resources and a sustained effort to achieve our ultimate goals. But these commitments of troops, trainers and civilians represent a strong downpayment on the future of our mission in Afghanistan and on the future of NATO," he said.

The president was asked if participants in the summit sought some kind of linkage between their help and the repeal of a new Afghan law that human rights groups say restricts the rights of women in the Shi'ite community.

Mr. Obama said concerns were raised during the summit. And he stressed that he personally finds the law abhorrent.

"Certainly the views of the administration have been and will be communicated to the Karzai government. And we think that it is very important for us to be sensitive to local culture but we also think there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold," he said.

But the president also emphasized the importance of the mission to destroy al-Qaida, and prevent terrorists from establishing safe havens in the region.

"We want to do everything we can to encourage and promote rule of law, human rights, the education of women and girls in Afghanistan, economic development, infrastructure development. But I also want people to understand the first reason we are there is to root out al-Qaida so that they cannot attack members of the alliance," he said.

This was Mr. Obama's first NATO summit, and he made clear he was heartened by the reception he received from the other leaders at the table. Mr. Obama said he was constantly reminded that what the allies have in common vastly exceeds any differences they might have.
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