The head of NATO has been at the White House discussing Afghanistan and relations with Russia with the US President.Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Barack Obama were preparing for next week’s NATO summit. Obama repeated his wish for a fresh start with Moscow, but said that would not compromise NATO expansion. “My administration is seeking a reset of the relationship with Russia but in a way that is consistent with NATO membership and consistent with the need to send a clear signal throughout Europe…that countries who seek and aspire to join NATO are able to join NATO,” he said. In 2009 NATO is marking its 60th year, the last seven of which have been dominated by the mission in Afghanistan. NATO’s Secretary General admits that battle is far from being won. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said: “Celebrating your 60th anniversary should not only be to look back at your successes but also to look ahead. In Afghanistan there are still major challenges. Many things are going right but many things are not going right.” The US is to deploy 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan to reinforce the 70,000 foreign troops already there. In the next few days Obama is expected to unveil a revised strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
NATO chief in White House talks