Saturday, 4 April 2009

Initial Notes From Final Press Conference

There was a belated and short final press conference. It began with the introduction of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the next Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance. I will post a more considered reaction to the various communiques later.

Mr Fogh Rasmussen

Today is truly historic, not just because a Dane has the job of NATO Secretary General for the first time, but because we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the most successful peace movement the world has ever seen....

Then Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made a few remarks, joined by President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel.

De Hoop Scheffer

Albania and Croatia have joined our Alliance. France has joined the military command to our great advantage and to that of the European Union.

The Summit has engaged in substantive work, notably in Afghanistan. The NATO Training Mission Afghanistan has been established. We will manage a trust fund to sustain the enlarged Afghan army. There is apolitical and strategic agreement to carry work forward.

We also discussed NATO’s relations with Russia. We share common security interests. We want to use the NRC for the fullest possible cooperation. We will also air our differences, as on Georgia and the CFE Treaty.

Heads of State and Government have agreed to launch a review process to update the Strategic Concept. This will be agreed at the next Summit.

President Sarkozy

Is very pleased that Prime Minister Rasmussen has been named to the Secretary Generalship. Pleased to work with President Obama. Europe will have a larger place in the Euro-Atlantic institutions.

Chancellor Merkel

Welcomed the new Secretary General, and reiterated all that had previously been said.

There was a very short question and answer session.


All three speakers denied, as one would expect, that there is a breach between the US and Europe on contributions to ISAF in Afghanistan. All three try to protest that European allies are making large contributions, although when measured against the enormous US troop surge, the European contribution is small.

One journalist raised questions about the ability of Anders Fogh Rasmussen to overcome all the difficulties that Turkey has raised about him, and whether he can represent NATO well. All speakers brushed off this question.

No comments: