During the one-day information programme held on 11 October, the visitors had the opportunity to have an open discussion with NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero. Ambassador Bisogniero spoke of the preparations for the next NATO Summit planned for May 2012 in Chicago, outlining key themes such as the Organization’s enduring commitment to the transatlantic relationship, the need to generate key capabilities and the Allies' intent to enhance NATO's connectivity to a global world. The discussion also touched upon the NATO mission in Afghanistan, counter-terrorism, cyber defence, maritime security and missile defence.
Dr Stefanie Babst, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division briefed the visitors on NATO’s public diplomacy efforts. “For us, public diplomacy is very much an instrument of soft power. We seek to inform and engage people in our countries, but also far beyond. We are fully aware of some of the stereotypes about NATO that still drive public perceptions in some countries. Ultimately, NATO’s policies and operations require solid public support.”
The visit was part of the Alliance’s public diplomacy initiative for global partners aimed at developing cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
Before coming to NATO, the parliamentarians and senators took part in the General Assembly meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bucharest, Romania.