President Sarkozy had a meeting with NATO’s Secretary General. He congratulated Anders Fogh Rasmussen on his action as head of NATO.
President Sarkozy and Mr Rasmussen highlighted the success of the coalition operations in Libya. They emphasized that these would continue for as long as necessary.
They drew lessons from these operations with regard to strengthening the Europeans’ role in the Alliance, the partnership with the Arab countries and the military capabilities. The President and the Secretary General shared their concern about the development of defence budgets in Europe.
President Sarkozy reiterated that France intends keeping her defence budget among the largest in Europe, particularly for force projection, and retaining her independent nuclear deterrence. While not replacing it, the NATO anti-missile system will be able to play a complementary role. President Sarkozy encouraged the development of cooperation with Russia on this.
Finally, President Sarkozy encouraged Mr Rasmussen to implement ambitious NATO reforms./.