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NATO SG Meets with FM Venizelos

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen thanked Greece for its enduring support to the Alliance including its support of Smart Defence projects despite tough economic times after his talks with Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos in Athens on Thursday.

"This is a question for all of us: how to deal with increasing security threats, at a time when our budgets are under pressure," the Secretary General said.

He said the best answer to that question is cooperation between Allies, partners and other international organisations like the European Union. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said Greece plays "a valuable role" in these areas, as it participates in a number of multinational projects with other Allies to improve and build capabilities at a more affordable cost. He stressed Greece's important contribution to building cooperation with partner countries, especially those in the Middle East and North Africa.

Fogh Rasmussen said that next year, Greece will take over the European Union's rotating presidency at a pivotal moment in the evolution of Europe's defence capabilities and that the European Council on defence in December 2013 represents a real opportunity to create a stronger Europe. "And Greece, as the next EU presidency, will have a major role in turning those commitments into real capabilities".

The Secretary General said he looks forward to "strong leadership from Greece, as we work to make Europe, and NATO, stronger".

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen also praised Greece for its contribution to NATO led operations.