………. distinguished colleagues, generals, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great privilege for me to be here to sign the NATO-Afghanistan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)
on behalf of the Secretary General.
It is also with great pleasure that I see Dr. Spanta, among the guests at this ceremony. I will not miss this
opportunity to pay tribute to his very helpful and constructive role during our years of cooperation and, in
particular, for our joint efforts to finalize this agreement.
The NATO SOFA provides the legal basis for the presence of military and civilians of NATO Allies and
NATO partners, who will contribute to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission to train-, advice- and assist
the Afghan National Security Forces. With the legal basis provided for in this agreement, the Mission can
start on 1 January 2015.
Like ISAF, Resolute Support will be NATO-led. However, it will be a non-combat mission, comprised of
approximately 12.000 military personnel.
The meaning and importance of this SOFA agreement goes beyond the launch of the new mission. It
reaffirms the commitment of NATO’s Allies and Partners and the Government of the Islamic Republic of
Afghanistan to continue our engagement and cooperation in the future.
This includes the implementation of the commitments made at the NATO Chicago Summit in 2012, and
reaffirmed at the Wales Summit earlier this month, to help finance the Afghan national Security Forces
through 2017. It confirms Afghanistan’s readiness to further strengthen its institutions. And it opens a new
chapter for the development of an Enduring Partnership between Afghanistan and NATO in the years to
We know that the Afghan people, donors from the international community as well as private business have
been eagerly waiting for the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (the BSA) and the SOFA, because
this sends a powerful signal of the broader, continued commitment and support by the International
Community to Afghanistan.
Against this background I would like to thank the new Government of National Unity for its leadership in
taking quick action to sign the BSA and the SOFA. I am confident that these agreements will help enhance
security and stability in Afghanistan, as well as help provide the right climate for further economic
Thank you.

By Voice of After The War