Thursday, 5 March 2009

Foreign Ministers Meet in Summit Preview

Following on from the recent Defence Ministers meeting, it is now the turn of Foreign Ministers to engage in preparations for the forthcoming Summit in Strasbourg and Kehl.

The full press briefing before the meeting by James Appathurai, NATO Spokesperson, contains some interesting pieces of information.

The importance of Afghanistan for the future of the Alliance is underscored by the fact that half the meeting will be taken up in discussion of the Alliance political-military strategy in the country; beginning with a briefing from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Obama administration’s review of US strategy in the region.

Another prominent topic will be relations with Russia, on which:

.. the Secretary General will report tomorrow morning to the Ministers on his political contacts and they will discuss possible next steps, including the resumption of formal meetings of the NATO-Russia Council at Ambassadorial and Ministerial level.

Perhaps as important in the long run is the Alliance’s internal debate on its policy direction. This will be dealt with in a discussion on:

.. the Declaration on Alliance security. This is again a tasking given to him by Ministers to draft, and he has done that, a declaration to be adopted at the summit in early April. This declaration should in essence underline NATO's determination to perform the full range of its missions including collective defence to projecting stability abroad. It should convey for our publics NATO's raison d'ĂȘtre at the age of 60, a sprightly and flexible 60. And it should also set out the way forward in launching a process which should lead to updating the Strategic Concept, which as you know dates to 1999, in order to set out in detail the Alliance's role in the new security environment of the 21st century.

Ministers, with invitee nations, will also be discussing the latest round of enlargement agreed last year at Bucharest. I’ll be reporting the various parts of the discussion as the meeting goes on.

No comments: