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Ivo Daalder Discusses the Chicago NATO Summit
This is a transcript of a media conference call that took place on May 22, 2012.
GIDEON ROSE: Hi, everybody. Gideon Rose here, the editor of Foreign Affairs. And we're delighted to have you on the line for a call with Ivo Daalder, the U.S. perm. rep. to NATO, discussing the successes and failures of the Chicago summit. We're also delighted to be co-sponsoring this with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. And I have Rachel Bronson here, the vice president for studies of the Chicago Council, who will open it.
RACHEL BRONSON: Great; thank you. I won't take too much time; I just want to welcome everyone, as well. Welcome, Ivo -- back to Chicago; you've been a total trooper, coming out quite a bit this year. I understand my line's a little staticky; my apologies for that.
For those of you who don't know, the council -- the Chicago Council -- is one of the country's oldest foreign policy organizations. We're celebrating our 90th year, like the Council on Foreign Relations. We have about 7,000 members in the area. We do about 150 programs a year. As Ivo knows, we devoted much of last year to really focus on the G-8 and the NATO summits. This has been a big deal for Chicago and we're delighted to finally overcome, I think, our own internal concerns from the 1968 riots; that we can actually as a global city host a global conference.
And Ivo, there was a lot of -- you saw a lot of police presence out and everything. But I think the city handled it very well. We're delighted to have you back.
Right now, we've got Abdullah Gul, president of Turkey, going on momentarily -- we've just had Jim Stavridis. So it's been a really interesting set of conversations out here, and we're delighted to have Ivo, you, back in Chicago.
So with that, I think I'll turn it over to you and get the conversation going.
DAALDER: Great; thanks --
ROSE: Ivo, it's Gideon here. So briefly -- we've all been following the papers and we read the basic stories, but what is your take on what just was accomplished -- what were the challenges and what were you trying to do at this summit and what did you get out of it?
DAALDER: Thanks, Gideon.
First, let me just say that the city of Chicago did a truly amazing job hosting this summit. Some of the focus here in the city has been on a bunch of protesters; the reality is we -- the city here hosted the largest gathering of NATO leaders ever. Never have 61 countries come here, and we did it without a hitch. And we even had nice weather, which, when you're in Brussels, is an extremely nice treat.
Second, let me just frame the summit in the larger picture of what the Obama administration in particular -- but NATO as a whole -- has been trying to do for the last two years. If you just go back to November 2010 when we had our last summit is Lisbon, where we really set a new phase for NATO. We tried to revitalize the alliance to address the 21st century security challenges. We agreed in Lisbon on a transition strategy for Afghanistan that would start in 2011 and end in 2014. We agreed to a new strategic concept that laid out how NATO had to be fit for purpose and ready to deal with an unpredictable world.
We laid out a series of critical defense capabilities that the alliance, even at a time of fiscal stress, needed to fund and needed to have in order to deal with these challenges. And we laid out a concept that we needed to build a partnership with global reach, an alliance that was not a global alliance but an actor in the global world. So that was the vision that was laid down in Lisbon. And at Chicago, we turned that vision into reality.
So let me just tick off four kinds of accomplishments that we had here. First, with regard to Afghanistan, we took stock of the transition process and agreed it was on track. And indeed, the leaders of the 50 ISAF countries decided that there was a next phase in this transition process, that by the middle of 2013 we would reach a milestone at which every district and province in Afghanistan would have started the transition process, meaning that the Afghan security forces would be in the lead for security. And as a result, the ISAFs -- the Afghanistan international mission would shift from a combat role to a support role.
Of course, through the end of 2014, when the transition is supposed to continue, there will be combat situations in which ISAF will be involved. So the challenges will remain. But the focus is shifting from a combat to support.
Then by the end of 2014, we should be in a position in which Afghan forces are fully responsible for security, and enable the ISAF mission that has been in place since 2004 to end. So we agreed here that we are winding down the war, as President Obama put it yesterday.
We also looked at what post-2014 or post-transition commitment NATO should make. And we agreed that the international community should sustain the Afghan security forces. We identified that a sustainable level would be something around $4 billion, and we affirmed that this was a commitment that the Afghan government, the international community and the United States would need to share. Up to this point, the U.S. has been responsible for 90-95 percent of the cost of sustaining and building the ANSF, the Afghan forces. In the future, from 2015 onwards, this will be a shared responsibility.
We also agreed that, after 2014, there would have to be a new mission, one focused on training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces -- not a combat mission, but a training mission. And we agreed that we would establish such a mission after 2014. So that's Afghanistan, a major move forward on there.
With respect to the unpredictable world that we're living in, we saw last year in Libya that we needed to have the capability to act if and when necessary. No one in Lisbon in November 2010 could have thought that by March of 2011, NATO forces would be called upon to engage in a protection mission of Libyan civilians, but there we are; we did.
The mission was a success, but we also identified critical capability gaps, and one of the things we did at this summit is to not only identify those gaps, but start to close them.
One of the most important gaps was in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, and at this summit, NATO signed an agreement with Northrop Grumman to buy five Global Hawk drones to provide the alliance the capability for intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and so it no longer has to rely on the United States to provide that capability.
Third -- we announced here at Chicago that NATO missile defense, territorial missile defense had become a reality. In Lisbon, we said that NATO needed to have the capability to deal with the growing ballistic missile threat by deploying territorial missile defenses.
Here in Chicago, we declared an interim capability of NATO ballistic missile defense, and as a result, the operational control of sensors and weapons can now be exercised by NATO rather than by the countries who -- (inaudible) -- the assistance. And because of that, President Obama announced that he had authorized the transfer of the operational control of the radar that is deployed today in Turkey from the United States to NATO. And we also have the ability, if and when required, to transfer operational control of our interceptors that are placed on Aegis cruisers in the Mediterranean from the United States to NATO.
Another -- other countries -- the Netherlands, for example, announced that they were going to transfer operational control of their missile defense capabilities, new sensors that they're building on frigates as well as Patriot theater missile defense systems if and when required. So we now have turned to the reality of missile defense in NATO.
Finally, with regard to partnerships, as I said, the largest gathering of leaders at a NATO summit occurred here in Chicago; 61 countries were here just as a testament of the vitality of NATO as a hub for a security network that is, indeed, global in reach. We had the ISAF meeting plus -- which is 50 countries plus contributors -- to ISAF to transition networks like Pakistan, the Central Asian states, and Russia.
We had a meeting with four countries that want to join NATO -- Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Georgia. And we had a new and unique meeting with 13 countries from the Middle East, Asia, and Europe that have contributed to NATO's operations and the achievement of its strategic objectives in ways that go beyond what others have done. We just recognized the importance of this.
So then with that, let me conclude. I think we laid a strong foundation in Chicago for an alliance of the 21st century, a new NATO ready to deal with the challenges that exist. And on this basis, we will continue to work when all of us get back to Brussels.
ROSE: OK -- thanks a lot, Ivo. That was a great wrap-up. And I know that our media partners are really eager to get their teeth into you, so I'm going to turn it over to them in just a second. I just want to take one question, which is, when a downsizing company tells its workers they have to do more with less, everybody knows that's B.S. and that you can't actually do it.
And so my question to you is, while I personally have full admiration for what the administration is trying to do in Afghanistan, should we really expect more than, you know, what the Nixon and Kissinger folks used to call a decent interval between the withdrawal of NATO and some kind of messier return of local politics in Afghanistan?
BRONSON: And maybe I could just add on a second one, before we could go to media. If you could talk a little bit about Zardari in Chicago and your views on how that went or didn't go?
DAALDER: OK. On Afghanistan first, I think messy politics is fine as long as it is Afghan messy politics, and done in the political sphere and not in the military sphere. What we have been trying to do for the last three years is to turn the security situation around to reverse the momentum.
When we came to office -- when the Obama administration came to office -- the Taliban had the momentum, they were on the move. As a result of looking at the situation, the president decided that there needed to be a surge of military forces from the outside. The U.S. surged, the international community surged; I remember when the U.S. deployed 30,000 more troops, NATO and partner countries came up with 10,000 additional troops. That surge is at the moment winding down, but it's winding down at a time when the Afghan forces are surging themselves. They're now at 340,000 Afghan police and army force -- (audio break) -- they will reach before their stated goal of October 352,000.
We have committed that that force should stay and will be sustained through the end of 2015, before we look at a gradual drawdown of that capability towards 2017. We've also committed to review the strength and needs of the Afghan forces until such time.
As a result of this strategy, the Taliban's momentum has been arrested, and indeed it has been reversed. We have taken more control -- the Afghans are in more control of the country, they are able to sustain that control over more parts of the country. Fifty percent of the population today in Afghanistan lives in areas in which our Afghan forces are in the lead for responsibility of security. That is going to rise to 75 percent by this summer. And we then have two-and-a-half more years in order to continue that progress and sustain the progress, and we believe that by the end of 2014 we will be in a situation -- with continued support by the international community, including a continued presence to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces -- that from a security perspective, the Afghan security forces will be in charge.
Then having politics take its course is what we want to see in a normal fashion, as long as it takes place within the constitution and without violence. That is the way Afghanistan needs to evolve.
As to President Zardari, he was invited by NATO to attend the meeting of the ISAF countries, in part because of course Pakistan is a -- is a central contributor to the mission and to our goals in Afghanistan. He did attend; he made a very strong, supportive statement for our efforts in Afghanistan, including on the reconciliation side. He got the message that it was important that the ground lines of communication, which are the shortest way to get supplies in and out of Afghanistan, be opened and opened soon. And we look forward to a decision to that effect in the very near future.
ROSE: Great, thank you very much.
Operator, let's turn it over to our media guests and get them in and let them at Ivo.
OPERATOR: All right; thank you. We are holding for questions. (Pause.)
ROSE: No questions for Ivo? OK, well until we get one, Ivo, I'll ask one.
I apologize for having been overly skeptical about Libya -- you were right and I was wrong about that one -- but that's because NATO was better able than I expected to distance itself from the aftermath, without getting sucked in. Do you think that in Afghanistan, once NATO is out of the combat, it will actually be able to keep itself out no matter what happens on the ground?
DAALDER: Well, I think it's a fair question. I mean, I think in Libya, we set ourselves a very precise military mission derived from a very precise mandate that the UN Security Council had provided. We were going to protect civilians in Libya from the onslaught of a brutal dictatorship. That was the mandate by the international community, it had strong regional support, and we implemented it. It was not our goal to change the regime, or indeed, to prepare them for the aftermath.
In Afghanistan, we have a different goal. Our goal was to make sure that Afghanistan never again is a safe haven for terrorists. We saw the consequences of that on 9/11 and we still see the consequences -- we have seen the consequences in the past of what it means to have a country or a large swath of the country being a safe haven for terrorists. That's our goal.
To achieve that goal, we need to have an Afghan government and security force that is strong enough to ensure that it can achieve that goal by itself, with some international support.
So NATO is not leaving Afghanistan. NATO will continue to be in Afghanistan post-2014. Its role will change from combat to support in 2013, and after 2014 its role will be focused on training, advising and assisting. But we are there for a specific purpose, and that purpose will guide us through the transition process and beyond in a way that wasn't the case in Libya.
OPERATOR: Excuse me, everyone. This is the operator. We do have questions now.
OPERATOR: Our first question comes from James Kitfield, from National Journal.
KITFIELD: Thank you; I appreciate you doing this. What do you respond to a NATO expert that I talked to who said that, for all of the, you know, smart defense initiatives that were announced that will allow the alliance to do more with less -- but they're all fairly modest and they don't even begin to make up for the defense cuts we've seen throughout the alliance -- but especially in Europe, where you have two of the most stalwart members like France and Britain sharing an aircraft carrier for the next decade. I mean, is it the bottom line here that, you know, despite all your best efforts, this is an -- this is an alliance that -- capabilities are in somewhat decline because of budgets that fund those capabilities are in decline?
DAALDER: James, thanks for the question. Of course, the current trend in the defense spending is not a good one. And we did have a very good discussion about this. We pointed out that a continuing decline in defense spending at some point is really not only going to bite into capabilities down the line but will bite into operations as well. So far, that hasn't been the case; the focus of spending has remained on operations. The European commitment to staying involved in Afghanistan, to staying involved in Kosovo and the Balkans and other operations remains.
But clearly, the current decline, if continued, is in the wrong direction. And it is clear that down the road, when the fiscal situation turns around, we will not only need to see a -- an end to decline, but we will need to see an uptick in defense spending down the road in order to maintain the capabilities.
That said, I think what NATO and the European countries are trying to struggle with is how do you maintain capability -- how do you focus on the right capabilities down the line even when defense spending is declining? And there's two ways in which they're looking at it.
One is they're looking at where they are spending their dollars or euros or krona or pounds. And there's a clear shift away from personnel into investment, which is the right way to start thinking about it. Europe is still personnel-heavy when it comes to militaries and needs to spend more on R&D and investment. And that shift is happening; if you look at the German defense budget, for example, you see it -- you see it right there. So that's a positive of getting more bang for the buck, and -- even as the number of bucks being spent are declining.
The second way is that there is a growing realization that we have to do more together and that the best way to use your limited resources is to combine them with others.
So you know, my favorite example is a few years ago, the Dutch government decided that it wanted to have -- its strategic lifts capability, but it could only afford half a C-17. Well, buying half a C-17 doesn't get you much, certainly not any lift capability, unless you can find others to pay for the other half.
And NATO now has a strategic airlift group with C-17s that are being jointly purchased and then flown individually, depending on the amount you have paid for for these airplanes. And as a result, a country like the Netherlands or Bulgaria now has a capacity to use C-17s for a strategic lift that they would not be able to do individually.
And in the summit we saw this with the decision to purchase the Alliance Ground Surveillance systems, these five Global Hawk drones. Aside from the United States, frankly, no one can afford these drones. But 14 countries came together and bought five for the alliance. The alliance will pay for the operation and support and maintenance as well as the infrastructure for these drones.
And as a result, we now have a capability that individual countries could never purchase themselves and that's a real capability with real output down the line. And that's how we need to, in these next few years, focus on spending our dollars and euros more wisely.
OPERATOR: Thank you.
Our next question comes from Matthew Kaminski from Wall Street Journal.
KAMINSKI: Hi, thank you. On the Afghan national security forces, you came up with a -- I guess a -- more of a lowball figure of 4.1 billion (dollars), and it seemed like you are asking the Europeans to fund about 1.8 billion (dollars) of it. But at Chicago you only got I guess 200 million (dollars) from the British, a bit more from the Australians. No one seems to be ponying up money.
Is that a worrying signal that the Europeans are not really as committed to this as you want them to be? And what does it say about, you know, the possible commitment of NATO to a post-2014 mission? And when will that have to all be worked out to put that in place?
DAALDER: Well, thanks, Matt, for that -- for your question. I mean, we have asked European and indeed non-European countries to contribute, starting in 2015, to sustaining the ANSF. The commitments that we have gotten up to this point are large. They are very close to the goals that we have set.
They're much larger and closer to the goals than you report. We've had the British, the Italians, the Germans, the Australians and other countries. They will -- some of them have announced this publicly; others will announce them publicly themselves, so I'm not going to do that for them. But if you add it all up, we are getting very close to the goal that we had set.
And in the next few weeks we expect to close that goal completely, demonstrating the commitment by the international community to do its fair share, which they agreed to do in Bonn as part of the large conference -- international conference on Afghanistan that we had in December. So we're confident that we will -- with Afghan resources, international resources, and what the United States is prepared to pay -- we're confident that we will be able to sustain the Afghan forces in 2015 and beyond.
The second part of your question -- remind me.
KAMINSKI: Right, sorry. I wanted to -- I was curious on when you have to start to put in place the post-'14 force. And what would you be asking for the Europeans? I assume you can't talk about numbers, and that has to be worked out with the Afghans themselves. But what's the sort of timetable for that?
DAALDER: Yeah. So -- sorry. So one of the things we decided here in Chicago is to begin the process of laying out the operational planning parameters for the post-2014 force. So that process will be put into motion.
We have two and a half years to get it right, to know exactly what the mission is and what the operational plans are in each of the concept of operations, the rules of engagements, etc., will have to be all agreed by the end of 2014. But that process will start today.
As a result of starting to define that process, we will also, of course, figure out what the force requirements will be from 2015 onwards. It's too early to have numbers. But we are looking at a mission that is NATO-led. That means that NATO will run the mission, but we will want to have, as we have today in ISAF, non-NATO members participating.
A number of countries that are not NATO members have already indicated that they want to participate in this mission -- Australia, for example -- and we will include them in the planning process now. And I am confident that not only will we have a good operational plan, but we will have the resources -- U.S., NATO, non-NATO -- in order to fulfill the requirements that are out there.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Harshaw Tobin from Bloomberg News.
TOBIN: Yeah. Looking at the slightly longer term, I'm wondering how the NATO allies reacted to the administration's vaunted pivot to Asia and what the role will be for the Atlantic alliance in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
DAALDER: Good question. And the interesting thing is it really didn't come up. And I think the reason it didn't come up is because we had made very clear that the pivot to Asia is not a -- is not a pivot away from Europe. It is indeed a pivot away from a decade of war. (Inaudible) -- go back to the president's statement in January, he said: After a decade of war that is now winding down, we need to reinvest in those areas that have been neglected, Asia being the most important one.
So the pivot really was a strategy reinvestment. And we look at Europe not as a place from which to withdraw, but as a place that we want to work with as our strategic partner of choice to address not only the challenges in Europe but indeed the challenges globally.
And I think the understanding among our European partners is that they need to invest more in terms of strategic vision and strategic capability in being that partner with the United States to address the challenges around their own region but importantly, increasingly around other regions in the world, and that includes -- and that includes Asia.
So we see Europe as a partner -- as a partner that works with us to deal with the challenges out there. And increasingly Europe is understanding that this is not a zero-sum game, this is not about doing less in Europe in order to do more in Asia, but it's about doing more together so we can deal with the challenges that are out there.
BRONSON: Ivo, I am dropping off now. We're introducing the Turkish president. I'm sure you can understand. But on behalf of the council, I want to thank you. And I know the Council on Foreign Relations will continue the call with Gideon, but thank you so much and for all your work you've done here in Chicago.
DAALDER: Thanks, Rachel. And for those who have never visited Chicago or let alone come to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, it's well worth it. It's a great organization. They've done a really tremendous job in bringing NATO into the Midwest and the Midwest to NATO. So thanks, Rachel.
BRONSON: Thank you, Ivo.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Deb Riechmann from the Associated Press.
REICHMANN: Hi. Yeah, I'm the AP correspondent in Kabul. And in reviewing the transition strategy that's come out in the last couple years, it doesn't seem like there's been any attention given to the role of Pakistan and Iran in this. I mean, how well can the strategy move forward if there is continuing meddling from those two neighbors?
DAALDER: Thanks, Deb, for that. I wouldn't -- I wouldn't say that we haven't been paying attention to the roles of Iran or Pakistan -- and particularly Pakistan -- in the transition strategy. Of course when President Obama came to power, he consciously decided that you couldn't look at this part of the world only through the lens of Afghanistan. You had to look at the lens of Afghanistan and Pakistan at the same time and realizing that what happened in Pakistan was fundamental to what could happen in Afghanistan.
We are in a -- in a very active and in-depth set of dialogues with Pakistan to find ways in which we can cooperate to deal with the problems that exist in order to -- in order to make sure that our strategy in Afghanistan will succeed. That is why we're trying to open the ground LOCs of communication. That's why we have and will continue to find ways to cooperate in dealing with the terrorist threat. That is a commitment that remains strong today, tomorrow, until 2014, and after 2014.
And as a result, I think we have a focus on this, and we continue to focus on this, realizing that the transition strategy in Afghanistan needs to continue, because ultimately if the Afghans can't stand up by themselves with us not at the side, it doesn't matter what happens in the other parts of the world. But we are focused on Pakistan and making sure that the -- not only the strategy in Afghanistan works, but that it works within the region as such.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Jeanine Mollof, from UK Progressive.
MOLLOF: Hello. My question is a little different. And it's regarding the group Veterans for Peace -- (audio break) -- gave back their medals in a virtual ceremony. They wanted to be able to give them back in person or at least send a vetted representative to NATO, and yet they were denied that audience. These are recent veterans that have served both in Iraq and Afghanistan -- (audio break) -- fact that Americans are the largest contingency force in these wars, how does NATO justify their refusal to even have a meeting with these veterans -- the very people who didn't just talk about it but actually served?
DAALDER: Well, of course, NATO didn't have a mission in Iraq to -- so this was a U.S. mission and a "coalition of the willing." And as a result NATO has -- it had a very small training mission that ended at the end of the year. But the entire conflict in Iraq was a U.S.-led coalition conflict in which NATO had no role.
With respect to --
MOLLOF: So NATO had no role in this at all -- what you're saying?
DAALDER: In Iraq, no; it had no role.
MOLLOF: What about Afghanistan. These were --
DAALDER: In Afghanistan, of course, there was -- in Afghanistan, there of course was a role. There continues to be a role; I don't know the specifics about what was being asked for or why, in terms of meeting with veterans. We did had a very moving and important tribute to the troops. The NATO leaders are more aware of the sacrifices that are being made by the citizens of their country. They are strong supporters of the troops who served in and come back home from Afghanistan. There are a large number of projects to address the needs of veterans both inside the countries and outside.
These are national programs by definition -- they are not something that an alliance like NATO is involved in, but the countries of NATO are deeply committed to addressing the needs of veterans and indeed recognizing their sacrifices.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Todd Jacobson, from Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor.
JACOBSON: Thank you, Ivo. I wanted to ask a question about the DDPR. It seems that arms control advocates were looking for better result from that document, with a possible change in declaratory policy or a more concrete movement toward reduction.
How would you respond to those that are disappointed by the outcome of the DDPR as it pertains to nuclear weapons?
DAALDER: I think you need to look at the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review in a holistic fashion and look at the document as a whole and also understand that this is a document that 28 countries signed up to. This is a consensus document, and every word of this is agreed to by each of the allies.
As you know, there are differences within the aligned with regard to the role of nuclear weapons. There are differences among the nuclear powers -- those who possess nuclear weapons -- and there are differences among those who do not possess nuclear weapons. And if you look at it from that perspective, I think it is a quite remarkable document.
For example, the document recognizes that individual nuclear weapons states have declaratory policies with respect to their negative security assurances that are important and that then apply to the weapons that are assigned to NATO. In other words, it means that the U.S. policy as enunciated in the Nuclear Posture Review is now recognized by NATO as applying to U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe. That is a very significant step that frankly few -- if you had been part of the discussions inside NATO, few had thought possible.
Secondly, and equally important, it reaffirms not only the commitment that we made in Lisbon to work together to create the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons, but it sets in motion a process by which we will look at ways to enhance transparency about the numbers, locations of nuclear weapons in Europe, together with Russia, and a process that will lead, we hope, to further nuclear reductions and to further reduction in the reliance on nuclear weapons on a reciprocal basis with Russia.
So we now have an alliance firmly on record as wanting to reduce the reliance on nuclear weapons, wanting to find ways to shift the focus to other means of deterrence and defense and to do so on a consultative and reciprocal basis. I would say that's progress. In fact, I would say that's major progress for the alliance.
OPERATOR: Thank you, sir. There are no further questions at this time.
ROSE: Did Iran come up at all either in the sessions or on the margins of this conference?
DAALDER: I mean, Iran came up mostly in the margins. We have a strong statement in the communique about Iran, about the need for Iran to implement all relevant Security Council resolutions. The Alliance expressed that it shared the UN Security Council's serious concern with regard to Iran's nuclear program and expressed strong support for the P-5 plus one effort to try to resolve this diplomatically. It was not an issue that we formally discussed, but leaders, of course, on the margins, were discussing them. As I've said, in the communique, we addressed it.
ROSE: Were those free and frank discussions? Were they heated? Were they interesting?
DAALDER: They were neither free nor frank. They were -- there is -- there is no disagreement, frankly, in this alliance, what -- both what Iran represents and how we need to work together to find ways to deal with it.
ROSE: Got it. OK, well, Ivo, thank you very much. We're really appreciative of you taking this time to be with us today. And continue the good work. And thanks to all of you for attending, and we're looking forward to you watching Ivo and his administration's exploits in the future and seeing all of you on the next media call. Thanks a lot.
DAALDER: Thanks, Gideon. I really appreciated the opportunity to do this.
OPERATOR: Thank you. This does conclude our teleconference for the day. You may now disconnect.