Germany and France have endorsed U.S. President Barack Obama's new
Afghan strategy as leaders of the 28 NATO countries met in the French
city of Strasbourg to mark the alliance's 60th anniversary.
Addressing the formal session, French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised
the strategy's focus on training Afghan security forces and stress on
both military operations and civilian development work.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the leaders the strategy fits well
into shared thinking among NATO members and pledged that her country
will continue to fulfill its commitments in Afghanistan.
Mr. Sarkozy also formally announced his country's full return to NATO's military command after a 40-year break.
Leaders of newly-admitted members Albania and Croatia formally took
their seats at the meeting, as President Obama stressed that the
alliance remains open to other candidates.
But there remains no consensus on a candidate to succeed Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer as secretary general because of Turkish opposition to the
candidacy of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Earlier, the leaders joined Chancellor Merkel and other heads of state
and government on the German side of the Rhine River for a symbolic
walk across a bridge leading into France. The leaders were joined
halfway by President Sarkozy coming from the French side.