BRUSSELS (Hurriyet)–New NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday that he hoped to fulfill the commitments he made to Turkey before he was appointed to the post.
When reporters recalled the agreement he reached with Turkey in the Strasbourg/Kehl Summit in April, Rasmussen, who took office earlier in the day as NATO’s new secretary-general, said they had reached a common understanding with Turkey and that he had full confidence that the agreement would be fulfilled.
Noting that he would do his best to fulfill the commitments, Rasmussen said he also believed in the support of NATO members, reported Anatolia news agency. He also said that eliminating obstacles before EU-NATO cooperation would be one of his priorities, adding that this would be the main issue he discusses during his visits to Turkey and Greece.
During a NATO meeting in April, Rasmussen said he would closely cooperate with Turkey during his term in office and that Turkey was an important NATO member that acts as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East.
He also said Danish police and prosecutors were carrying out an investigation into whether Roj TV, which broadcasts from Denmark, had an economic connection with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and whether its broadcasts provoked terrorism.
The military alliance’s new civilian chief also said Monday that NATO needs more international help from the United Nations and European Union to secure and rebuild Afghanistan.
“NATO will do its part, but it cannot do it alone. This needs to be an international effort, both military and civilian,” The Associated Press quoted him as saying. Fogh Rasmussen said his top priorities would be guiding the war in Afghanistan to a successful conclusion, repairing ties with Russia that were further strained by last year’s Russo-Georgian war, and expanding NATO’s partnership with moderate nations in North Africa and the Middle East.
NATO has about 64,000 soldiers in Afghanistan – half of them Americans – where they are struggling to contain an escalating Taliban insurgency. More than 20,000 new U.S. troops are being deployed, but European allies have been reluctant to increase their contributions to the international force.