Strasbourg – Kehl Summit strengthens Transatlantic Link and looks at NATO’s future challenges

  • 04 Apr. 2009 -
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  • Last updated: 06 Apr. 2009 10:20

At their Summit meeting in Strasbourg NATO leaders re-affirmed the principle of indivisibility of Allied security, the commitment to transatlantic solidarity and the common goal of a Europe that is whole and free.

Heads of State and Government arrive in Baden-Baden for their working dinner

NATO leaders adopted a Declaration on Alliance Security reaffirming the basic values, principles and purposes of the NATO Alliance. They also launched the process to develop a new Strategic Concept, a document that will define NATO’s longer-term role in the new security environment of the 21st century.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, leaders welcomed Albania and Croatia into the Alliance, reaffirmed NATO’s commitment to continue dialogue and cooperation with partner countries and to keep open the door to NATO membership, with the aim of strengthening security for all in the Euro-Atlantic area.

Heads of State and Government have also taken decisions on the modernisation of capabilities, on the Alliance’s engagement with other international organisations and countries and on missions and operations.

Leaders reaffirmed the Alliance’s support to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and recognised the value of enhancing cooperation between the two organisations. NATO leaders also recognised the importance of a stronger and more capable European defence, welcoming the EU’s efforts to strengthen its capabilities to address common security challenges.

They agreed that NATO’s transformation in order to ensure the provision of deployable forces prepared conduct the full range of military operations and missions will strengthen the Alliance’s ability to confront 21st century threats.

NATO leaders acknowledged that security in the Euro-Atlantic area is closely tied to Afghanistan’s security and stability and declared that the UN-mandated ISAF mission in Afghanistan is NATO’s key priority.  In a comprehensive approach combining military and civilian resources, NATO remains committed to help the Government of Afghanistan to support Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability, together with the international community. Leaders said that strong constructive engagement by countries of the region is also critical and pledged to reinforce cooperation with all Afghanistan’s neighbours, especially Pakistan.

NATO Heads of State and Government reiterated their commitment to the NATO‑Russia partnership as a strategic element in fostering security in the Euro‑Atlantic area. They declared that despite the current disagreements, Russia is of particular importance to NATO as a partner and neighbour and that NATO and Russia share common security interests, such as the stabilisation of Afghanistan, arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They also agreed that NATO remains committed to using the NATO-Russia Council as a forum for political dialogue on all issues – where we agree and disagree - with a view towards resolving problems and building practical cooperation.

NATO leaders also welcomed the French decision to fully participate in NATO structures. Finally, Heads of State and Government of the Alliance looked forward to meet in Portugal for the next NATO Summit to approve an updated Strategic Concept.