On Saturday, the final day of the summit, we had a videoconference to hear the opinions of Afghan university students on the present situation in Kandahar, Herat, and Kabul. The Bulgarian and Slovak foreign ministers stopped by to share their thoughts on the approved strategic concept.
Slovakia’s Mikuláš Dzurinda described the concept as “a new compass to navigate the alliance.” He also proudly noted that “despite the economic crisis, Slovakia has decided to increase its participation in ISAF by 25 persons, i. e.10%.”
Bulgaria’s Nickolay Mladenov described the agreement in Lisbon as “the birth of a new NATO…welcome to NATO 2.0. [It is] historic because it looks at new challenges…missile defence…the open door policy – anyone who shares the values of the North Atlantic Alliance [can join].”
On the Western Balkans, he added: “[We are] going out of our way to prepare for that day when those countries can join.”
On Afghanistan: “Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East, South American countries may also be coming into Afghanistan…if we fail in Afghanistan…it isn’t that far for them to get into Southeastern Europe. And this is why we have a responsibility to be in Afghanistan…[Bulgaria is] upping our contribution by sending more trainers for the ANA, more trainers for the ANP.”
Next, Jamie O’Shea, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges reflected on the summit saying, “we were not doing enough on the new threats [previously]…[they were] talked about in NATO communiques but not much concrete happened…new threats are definitely on the agenda…[this is] catch up after a certain period of neglect.”
On the extension of the NATO/ISAF operation in Afghanistan: “[the extension gives us] a 4 year breathing space to give us some time to come up with a very good answer to what we should do in that region.”