NATO Foreign Ministers hold talks on new Strategic Concept

  • 22 Apr. 2010 -
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  • Last updated: 22 Apr. 2010 15:24

NATO Foreign Ministers discussed today in Tallinn ways to modernise the organisation and held talks on a new Strategic Concept, the document that will shape and guide the Alliance for the next decade

Ministers shared the view that the new concept must reaffirm NATO’ essential and enduring foundations: the political bond between Europe and North America, and the commitment to defend each other against attack.

They also shared the view that the new Concept needs to be brought up to date to reflect today’s practice, since NATO is now engaged in areas never envisioned in the 1999 Concept, from Afghanistan to cyberspace. And that the new Strategic Concept also needs to show the way to the future roles, missions, capabilities and partnerships.

The Group of Experts, led by Madeleine Albright, will present to Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in May a report which will inform the discussions among nations.

NATO Heads of State and Government will agree on a new Concept in November during the Lisbon Summit.

Foreign Ministers also discussed in the Estonian capital how to modernise NATO, across the board. The Secretary General presented a number of ideas to Ministers to undertake deep reforms and got a strong endorsement for his reform agenda.

During dinner, Ministers will focus on nuclear issues and missile defence.

NATO will discuss how to take forward its nuclear posture, with an eye to the Strategic Concept.

According to the Secretary General, in a world where nuclear weapons exist, NATO needs a credible, effective and safely managed deterrent. Nevertheless, the Alliance must also do what it can to support arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.

Ministers will consider issues surrounding missile defence, including cost, command and control, as well as how to engage Russia on this issue “to the benefit of Europe’s security and its political unity”, as the Secretary General has said.

At the Lisbon Summit in November, NATO nations will decide whether or not it will to take on Alliance missile defence as a NATO mission.