BRUSSELS, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned on Tuesday that if Afghan President Hamid Karzai fails to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States, NATO wouldn't be able to deploy its training and advisory mission in Afghanistan after 2014.
"It is clear that if there is no signature on the legal agreement, there can be no deployment and the planned assistance will be put at risk," Rasmussen told reporters at his arrival of a two-day gathering of NATO foreign ministers.
The NATO chief voiced hope Karzai would follow the advice of the Loya Jirga, an assembly of Afghan elders that last month endorsed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between the United States and Afghanistan. But Karzai said he might not sign it until after elections in April.
The BSA will pave the way for a similar legal agreement to be signed with NATO, whose combat mission in Afghanistan is to be replaced with a training and assistance mission involving 8,000 to 12,000 troops after 2014.
"I look forward to its timely signature. It will be important to put in place the necessary legal framework for the deployment of the NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces after 2014," Rasmussen said.
"It is my firm hope and intention therefore to continue our efforts to support Afghanistan, once these agreements are concluded," he said.
Around 84,000 NATO troops are still deployed in Afghanistan, most of them American. NATO will hand over security responsibility across the country to local forces and withdraw its combat troops by the end of 2014.
Besides Afghanistan, NATO foreign ministers will discuss how to shape the agenda of the alliance's next summit in Britain next year.
The aim is to ensure NATO "remains fit, outward looking and ready to respond to the challenges the future will bring," Rasmussen said.
In addition, NATO foreign ministers will meet with their Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to review issues including the destructions of chemical weapons in Syria, the missile defense, etc.
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