Secretary General pays historic first visit to Ireland
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is in Dublin on 12-13 February 2013 to meet Irish leaders and European Union defence ministers, in the first visit of any NATO Secretary General to Ireland.
Ireland joined the Partnership for Peace in 1999, and has contributed to the NATO-led missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan under United Nations mandates. Ireland currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.
“Ireland is not a member of NATO, but it is a very important partner. It shares NATO’s values. And it shares NATO’s commitment to strengthening the role of the United Nations as the guarantor of international security, and the rule of law,” Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said in a speech to the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.
After the speech, the Secretary General discussed current cooperation between NATO and Ireland, and the potential for strengthening ties, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. He was also scheduled to meet Defence Minister Alan Shatter.
“There are two areas that I believe offer considerable potential: capabilities, and military education, training and exercises,” Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.
NATO’s Smart Defence initiative aims to strengthen multinational cooperation on military capabilities, while the Connected Forces Initiative aims to build cooperation on training and exercises.
Working with NATO in these fields “would allow you to enhance your own capabilities – and it would be warmly welcomed by the Alliance,” the Secretary General said.
He thanked Ireland for its contribution to NATO’s missions, saying that both NATO and Ireland benefit from cooperation.
“By engaging with NATO, you get a voice at the table where the decisions are made. You get full political transparency and oversight. You get a military command and control system that is tried, tested, and trusted,” he said.