News / Asia

NATO to Decide Afghanistan Strategy

Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are working Saturday on a strategy for winding down the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and ensuring stability afterward. The final day of the NATO summit in Lisbon will also include discussions aimed at improving the alliance's relations with Russia.  

U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai shook hands as the Afghan president joined the 28 NATO leaders to discuss his country's future.

NATO is working on details of its plan to start withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan next year, and put the country's security completely in the Afghan government's hands by the end of 2014.

As the meeting began, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance is united with Afghanistan on the need to make the transition.

"The direction, starting today is clear, toward Afghan leadership and Afghan ownership.  That is a vision President Karzai has set out, it is a vision we share, and we will make it a reality, starting early next year," he said.

But Rasmussen cautioned that NATO will maintain a military presence in the country beyond 2014, mostly to train Afghan security forces and provide humanitarian aid.

"If the enemies of Afghanistan have the idea that they can just wait it out until we leave, they have the wrong idea.  We will stay as long as it takes to finish our job," he said.

NATO's relations with Russia are another of Saturday's main items on the summit agenda.  The alliance hopes to continue improving ties with its former Cold War adversary, and is inviting Russia to join in a new missile defense system for Europe.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and President Obama were not scheduled to meet one-on-one, as previously reported.  But the Russian leader did plan to take part in the NATO-Russia Council, a committee set up after Russia's 2008 conflict with Georgia for the purpose of easing tensions and improving relations.

NATO and Russia were expected to agree to expand the alliance's supply routes for Afghanistan through Russia, among other items.

The New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, signed by the two presidents earlier this year, is also being discussed Saturday.  Mr. Obama has been campaigning intensely for U.S. Senate approval of the pact this year, against long odds.  

Some Senate Republicans want more upgrades to the U.S. nuclear arsenal and say there is not enough time remaining in the current Congress to strike a deal.  If the treaty is not ratified this year, the process will start from the beginning next year, in a new Congress with more Republicans.

Before returning to Washington, President Obama meets with European Union leaders, with economic issues at the forefront.

Some European officials have been unhappy with U.S. government spending to stimulate the economy while many European governments have been drastically cutting their budgets to reduce deficits.

There have also been complaints from Europe that Mr. Obama has focused too much attention on Asia recently, and not enough on U.S. ties with Europe.

Recently, the Obama administration has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Europe relationship, especially on economic matters.

NEW: Follow our Middle East stories on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

 

You May Like

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid