The importance of Afghanistan was highlighted within minutes of President Obama’s arrival in Lisbon. He began his visit by holding talks with Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva and used the meeting to reaffirm a committment to begin turning security over the Afghan forces.
“Here in Lisbon I look forward to working with NATO and our ISAF partners as we move towards a new phase,” said the US president. “A transtition to Afghan responsibility which begins in 2011 with Afghan forces taking the lead for security across Afghanistan by 2014. So, this summit is an important opportunity for us to align an approach to transtition in Afghanistan,” Obama added.
Afterwards, Obama met Portugal’s Prime Minister Jose Socrates for talks in which Afghanistan again figured highly. Despite the setbacks, both men are said to agree that the alliance needs to be ready for similar missions in the future.
There was also reportedly much discussion of Portugal’s economy with the White House expressing its “full support” for Lisbon’s efforts to improve its situation.