Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Briefing by NATO Spokesman

Extracts and Notes from a Media Briefing by James Appathurai
Afternoon, Wednesday 2 April

NATO Spokesman James Appathurai gave a briefing today, and I have taken a few notes from it. Most interestingly, he does not deny that MAPs for Georgia and the Ukraine may be delayed until 2010.


Dinner discussions will be informal and enlargement is at the top of the agenda. NATO operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo will also be discussed.

He ‘hopes’ that ministers can bless progress on missile defence and on the groundwork for a new strategic comment on Thursday morning.

The Thursday afternoon meeting on Afghanistan will be with NATO, all 40 ISAF countries, UN Secretary general Ban Ki Moon, European Commission President Barroso, High Representative Javier Solana. They will agree a comprehensive strategy for NATO in two documents, one public and one classified.

There will also be discussion of troop reinforcements, especially since the Canadians have been insistent that they need 1,000 extra troops in Kandahar to assist them.

On Friday, there will be a Commission meeting with the Ukraine, by which time the NATO position on the Ukraine MAP invitation will be clear.

Then the NATO-Russia Council will meet. There will be discussion of disagreements, such as enlargement and missile defence. There will also be discussion of a Russian proposal to offer a transit corridor to NATO for logistics to Afghanistan.

Q & A

On Georgia and the Ukraine MAP issue, Appathurai said that there are many public statements and “there are a range of views on this issue.” There will be an interesting discussion. “When the allies take a position it will be a unified position.” He did not deny that the MAPs may be put off until 2010.

NATO will continue to pursue the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and the Mediterranean Dialogue. These are not big political issues in Bucharest, but they matter to the Alliance.

The full audio version of the press briefing can be accessed at the NATO Summit Website.

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