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29 Nov. 2006. Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Riga on 29 November 2006

1. We, the Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, reaffirm today in Riga our resolve to meet the security challenges of the 21stcentury and defend our populations and common values, while maintaining a strong collective defence as the core purpose of our Alliance. Our 26 nations are united in democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law, and faithful to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

2. The principle of the indivisibility of Allied security is fundamental, and our solidarity gives us the strength to meet new challenges together. In today’s evolving security environment, we confront complex, sometimes inter-related threats such as terrorism, increasingly global in scale and lethal in results, and the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery, as well as challenges from instability due to failed or failing states. This puts a premium on the vital role NATO plays as the essential forum for security consultation between North American and European Allies. It highlights the importance of common action against those threats, including in UN-mandated crisis response operations. It also underscores the importance of continuing transformation of NATO’s capabilities and relationships, which includes our operations and missions, strong investment in enhanced capabilities, and closer engagement with our partners, other nations and organisations. We have today endorsed our Comprehensive Political Guidance which provides a framework and political direction for NATO’s continuing transformation, setting out, for the next 10-15 years, the priorities for all Alliance capability issues, planning disciplines and intelligence.

3. From Afghanistan to the Balkans and from the Mediterranean Sea to Darfur, in sixchallenging missions and operations in three geographic regions, we are advancing peace and security and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those who defend our common values of democracy and freedom as embodied in the Washington Treaty. We are working closely with our partners and other nations in these endeavours. We pay tribute to the professionalism and dedication of the more than fifty thousand men and women from Allied and other nations dedicated to these tasks, and extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of the injured and the fallen.

4. We stand with the Government of President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan who seek to build a stable, democratic and prosperous society, free from terrorism, narcotics and fear, providing for its own security and at peace with its neighbours. Afghans have accomplished much in the last five years. Democratically elected institutions are in place, and the implementation of national reconstruction and development strategies is improving the lives of millions. We are committed to an enduring role to support the Afghan authorities, in cooperation with other international actors.

5. Contributing to peace and stability in Afghanistan is NATO’s key priority. In cooperation with Afghan National Security Forces and in coordination with other international actors, we will continue to support the Afghan authorities in meeting their responsibilities to provide security, stability and reconstruction across Afghanistan through the UN-mandated NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), respecting international law and making every effort to avoid harm to the civilian population. We reaffirm the strong solidarity of our Alliance, and pledge to ensure that ISAF has the forces, resources, and flexibility needed to ensure the mission’s continued success. Moreover, the Afghan Government and NATO are working together to develop democratically-controlled defence institutions. We have agreed today to increa

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