On 14 April, NATO Allies and the six operational partners contributing to Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR demonstrated strongest unity of purpose and determination in implementing fully their obligations as mandated by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973. The Ministers made clear the three military objectives of NATO’s mission in Libya: the end to all attacks and threat of attacks against civilians; the withdrawal of all regime forces to bases; and an immediate humanitarian access. ‘NATO is absolutely determined to continue its operation for as long as there is a threat against Libyan civilians and it is impossible to imagine that threat disappear with Qadhafi in power’, Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated at the closing press conference.
In discussing the way forward to the NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership, which was agreed upon at the November 2010 Lisbon Summit, the Afghan and NATO Foreign Ministers agreed on a set of initial activities and programmes to put this cooperation into practice. ‘This is the framework on which NATO is building its long-term engagement with Afghanistan’, the NATO Secretary General stressed ‘one that will last beyond the date when our combat role ends’.
NATO Foreign Ministers also endorsed a new Partnership Policy to improve NATO’s engagement with partners. According to the new policy, NATO will expand its political dialogue and practical cooperation with any nation across the globe that shares the Alliance’s interest in international peace and security.’ Thee newly approved “Berlin partnership package” will allow us to work on more issues, with more partners, in more ways’, the Secretary General stated, ‘that is a win-win for all of us’.
The Berlin meeting also provided with the opportunity for Ministers to take forward their political and practical cooperation with Georgia, Ukraine and Russia.
The NATO-Russia Council declared the NATO-Russia Council Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund for Afghanistan operational, with Germany as the lead nation. This will allow Afghan national security forces acquire the equipment needed for them to fully assume their security responsibility. Ministers also adopted a new NATO-Russia Action Plan on Terrorism. Discussions also addressed a number of topical issues, including Libya and missile defence.
‘This is exactly what the NATO-Russia Council is about – a transparent dialogue with no taboos’, Mr. Rasmussen said.