The United States hosted the NATO Summit May 20-21, in Chicago, Illinois. President Barack Obama welcomed leaders from NATO member and partner nations to his hometown for the Summit of the world's most successful Alliance. At the NATO Summit, leaders discussed the next major phase of transition in Afghanistan as well as steps to ensure NATO has the capabilities necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century and further broaden and deepen its relationships with non-NATO partners.
While in Chicago, President Obama held a bilateral meeting with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to discuss implementation of the Strategic Forces Agreement. The agreement, which the two leaders signed in Kabul earlier this month, lays out the future relationship between the United States and Afghanistan. President Obama also met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to discuss goals of the Summit.
In his remarks at the opening session of the North Atlantic Council, President Obama said, "For over 65 years, our alliance has been the bedrock of our common security, of freedom and of prosperity. And though the times may have changed, the fundamental reason for our alliance has not. Our nations are stronger and more prosperous when we stand together. In good times and in bad, our alliance has endured; in fact, it has thrived -- because we share an unbreakable commitment to the freedom and security of our citizens."
President Obama concluded, "...I look forward to our meeting with NATO's neighbors and our partners around the world who have been so critical to NATO operations as in Afghanistan and Libya. It will be another reminder that NATO is truly a hub of a network of global security partners. There is nothing else like it on Earth."
Secretary Clinton addressed the North Atlantic Council on May 21. She said, "The United States remains deeply committed to the open door policy, and it is in that spirit that we welcome our aspirant nations here today. We support their aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration, and we will keep working with each of them, both bilaterally and through NATO, to help them implement finally the reforms needed to meet the standards for membership."
She continued, "...In 1949, we were 12 nations; now we're 28. The result is an alliance that has proven over and over it can meet the threats and overcome the challenges of our time. And here in Chicago, let us reaffirm our commitment to enlargement done right as a core element of our purpose and our community."
You can read more about the NATO Summit in Chicago here.