NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

26 May. 2005

Speech

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, at the Pledging Conference for the African Union (AU) Mission in the Sudan, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Monsieur le Président de la Commission de l'Union Africaine,
Monsieur le Secrétaire général des Nations Unies,
Mesdames et Messieurs les Ministres,
Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs,

La conférence internationale organisée aujourd'hui sous le double patronage de l'Union Africaine et des Nations-Unies est d'une importance primordiale. Elle marque la volonté de la communauté internationale d'apporter tout son appui aux efforts de l'Union Africaine pour mettre fin à ce dramatique conflit du Darfour. L'OTAN fait partie des partenaires auxquels l'Union Africaine a demandé une assistance pour contribuer au renforcement envisagé de l'AMIS dans les semaines et mois à venir. Le Président Konaré est venu il y a quelques jours s'exprimer devant notre organe directeur, le Conseil Atlantique à Bruxelles pour un premier échange de vues et d'informations à ce sujet. Sur cette base, nous avons marqué notre disponibilité de principe pour fournir le plus rapidement possible une aide logistique à l'Union Africaine au Darfour.

In doing so, NATO would like to stress two points of immediate political importance. First, our strong support to the African Union's leadership regarding Darfour. The AU has to remain in the driving seat to solve this difficult conflict. Our role is to contribute to strengthening your capability to meet this challenge. Second, the need for close liaising with the African Union and with bilateral and institutional donors, in particular with the EU, to ensure maximum complementarity and effectiveness. I think this conference today demonstrates that all of us are thinking along the same lines and we particularly appreciate the extensive briefings this morning on the AU's overall efforts and plans.

The NATO's military authorities, after exploratory contacts with the AU, have identified the following three areas in which the Alliance could do its part of the international assistance effort:

  • first, we could help to deploy the AU forces, in particular in the field of strategic airlift. NATO members indeed possess considerable airlift capabilities and could set up an appropriate centre for such an operation;
  • second, we could help to train the AMIS headquarters staff in important areas such as command and control or operational planning;
  • and finally, if the AU so wishes, we could assist in the field of intelligence with training for instance.

Of course, at this stage, the options we put to you are quite broad. We are in contact with nations to assess the level of contributions, especially regarding airlift. And we will consult in the coming days with the AU and others on how to transform these initial offers into concrete proposals responding to a specific request.

As we could hear today, much is at stake. Neither the African Union nor the international community can afford failure in Darfur. Together with its partners, I am confident that the Alliance will be in a position to make a tangible contribution to the expanding AU mission in Darfur.

If you ask for help, we can help and we will help.

Thank you very much.

Last updated: 13-May-2009 11:31