26 Jan. 2007

Opening statement

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council
in Foreign Ministerial session on Afghanistan

Permettez-moi tout d’abord de vous souhaiter chaleureusement la bienvenue à cette réunion extraordinaire sur l’Afghanistan. 

Je suis particulièrement heureux d’accueillir aujourd’hui au siège de l’OTAN les Ministres des affaires étrangères des pays contributeurs non membres de notre Alliance ainsi que les représentants des autres organisations internationales, à savoir Monsieur Javier Solana, Haut Représentant de l’UE, Madame Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissaire européen pour les relations extérieures, Monsieur Praful Patel, Vice-Président régional de la Banque mondiale, et Monsieur Tom Koenigs, Haut Représentant du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies et chef de la MANUA. Je voudrais aussi souhaiter tout spécialement la bienvenue à Monsieur Spanta, Ministre des affaires étrangères de l’Afghanistan, ainsi qu’à l’Ambassadeur du Japon et au Représentant de la République de Corée.

This meeting has been called in the spirit of close consultation and cooperation that guides our relations with our partners in NATO missions. It also serves to underline the important relationship between NATO and the UN, EU and the World Bank who play leading roles in Afghanistan. Today we should aim to provide a new momentum to our joint efforts in the country.

This meeting also signals that NATO’s contribution is one of several elements in a comprehensive commitment to Afghanistan.  NATO’s security mission remains closely linked to all other efforts currently being undertaken in Afghanistan, namely from good governance to institution-building, from fighting narcotics to stepping up reconstruction and development efforts.  If we are to be successful, we need to make progress in all of these areas and we need to do that in a comprehensive way. 

We are all aware of the tremendous progress that has been made in Afghanistan over the past years.  Yet more can and must be done.  We must further enhance our collective efforts to ensure that Afghanistan will continue on a path of development, security and democracy.  Simultaneously, we must ensure that the necessary civilian and military resources are provided.

Our discussions here today offer a major opportunity for us to focus on ways to improve our collective efforts.  In my view, implementing a concerted strategy is the order of the day.