Wednesday, 2 April 2008

UK Positions in Bucharest

With some big issues dominating thoughts in Bucharest, PM Gordon brown is concentrating on the minutiae. The PA reports that his big initiative is for a Helicopter Trust Fund, to allow NATO's richer nations to fund others in the provision of helicopters to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The PM is also calling for more troops to be sent to top up the 47,000 strong ISAF, especially in southern Afghanistan where the fighting is going on.

Macolm Rifkind has written in the Telegraph to oppose offering an MAP or membership of NATO to Georgia and the Ukraine. He says that:

So far as Nato is concerned, consideration should be given to the creation of a new status of associate member, which would give Ukraine and Georgia many of the benefits of membership, including the right for their forces to train with Nato members and to serve alongside Nato states in international operations. What it would not do would be to apply Article 5 of the treaty.

That is, there would be no automatic defence guarantee to these countries. No statement that an attack on them is an attack on all NATO members.

David Cameron meanwhile has suggested the creation of a common fund to pay for future operations. You can read his speech here. He also spoke in favour of a revision of the NATO Strategic Concpet as part of modernising the Alliance. And, of course, he took the obvious position for a Tory that defence cooperation should always be through NATO and not through the EU.

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