Updated: 04-Jun-2003 June 2003

4 June 2003


NATO takes on new missions

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In Madrid, 3-4 June 2003, NATO Foreign ministers said the Alliance’s taking on of new missions in Afghanistan and in support of Poland in Iraq showed NATO’s transformation was well underway.

The Foreign Ministers met in the Spanish capital to review the implementation of decisions and initiatives launched at the landmark Prague Summit last year. At the Summit, Heads of State and Government endorsed a far-reaching transformation of the Alliance to meet new security threats.

Today, the Foreign Ministers of the Alliance took stock of how the Alliance has dealt with this demanding period of change and the conclusion was that NATO is bouncing back. NATO has weathered its storms in remarkably good shape,” said NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson at a press conference.

The discussions focused on the future of the Alliance, with Ministers reaffirming NATO’s readiness to take on new roles and missions in new parts of the world. This resolve was demonstrated by three recent landmark decisions: the agreements on cooperation with the European Union, the decision to take over of the command of the ISAF peacekeeping force in Afghanistan this August, and to assist Poland in its Iraq mission.

All three decisions would have appeared inconceivable even six months ago and they demonstrate a deep practical consensus on the future of the transatlantic relationship, based very much on the vision that was set out at Prague,” Lord Robertson told reporters.

Ministers also discussed progress achieved in strengthening NATO’s partnerships with their counterparts in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the NATO-Russia Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission. A special NATO-EU meeting confirmed the progress achieved in practical cooperation between the two organisations.

Regular meetings of NATO Foreign Ministers are held twice a year to review current developments, the Alliance’s activities and take appropriate decisions.

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