French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer emerged following today’s NATO summit to brief the press.
Per usual, Sarko praised President Obama to high heaven, saying "it’s so easy to work with him," that he "showed leadership" and that he liked hearing the American president express a commitment to a strong Europe.
More Sarko: "The time of international summits when you talk and talk and decide nothing is over."
He declared that “the strength of the French-German axis is to be reckoned with”
Asked by a reporter from Le Monde if he worried that the war in Afghanistan and indeed NATO would become more Americanized, Sarko belittled the reporter for being so funny, saying he didn’t know the new NATO secretary general (Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen) was American.
Sarko also said the new US strategy in Afghanistan "mirrors what Europeans have been asking for for months and years now. This is what Europe has been triumphing."
Merkel noted that Germany would be sending more troops to provide security for the upcoming Afghan elections.
There was no direct answer as to how the other 27 NATO nations convinced Turkish president Gul to allow Rasmussen to become the next secretary general, though we’re told there’s another compelling "President Obama saved the day" story about that.
Sarko said "the time of misunderstandings and misgivings is over," since there are such serious problems in the world. "We have to fight real world problems and we have to stop fighting about egos."
De Hoop Sheffer said in French that "what counts is the result."
Merkel and Sarkozy both expressed concern about reports of Afghanistan passing Shariah-based laws allowing married men to rape their wives.
"The rights of women and men are equal," Merkel said, calling it "unacceptable" for "such a law to become part of Afghanistan."
Sarkozy said NATO had conveyed the importance of women’s and human rights to Afghan leaders and he believes the "message has been received."