Closing remarks

by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at the Società Italiana per l’Organizzazione Internazionale (SIOI) Rome International Conference organized in cooperation with the NATO Public Diplomacy Division to celebrate NATO’s 75th Anniversary.

  • 16 Apr. 2024 - 16 Apr. 2024
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  • Last updated: 17 Apr. 2024 11:14

(As delivered)

Rome is sort of a founding proposition. Dear Minister Crosetto, it's a great –you with us, we highly appreciate your leadership. 
I'd like also to thank Ambassador Peronaci for bringing all the North Atlantic Council, all our colleagues, all nations here in visiting this beautiful country and this indispensable Ally, which is Italy. 

I'm also –we were visiting Italy, for the very important speech that President Mattarella has addressed at this conference, a statement with wisdom, with historic perspective. And I think –this kind of difficult times, we need all the wisdom from all directions from all nations, including, and especially from our partners that we are celebrating many long decades of fruitful cooperation. And I'm really looking forward to strengthening our ties, to bringing even more in depth conversation amongst ourselves. 

And of course, la Società Italiana per l’Organizzazione Internazionale, indispensable partners for organizing this event. So congratulations for everything you do. Everything that Italy has been doing for us for 75 years. And thank you so much for bringing all of us together.  

As this conference comes to a close, I want to leave you all with one essential message. In a more dangerous and competitive world, NATO stands strong and united to tackle rising security challenges. But security is not a job for NATO alone. It is a shared responsibility. Because security is increasingly global, not just regional, or multi regional. 

We see this with Russia's war against Ukraine. It adversely affects Europe as a whole, and makes the entire world more unstable. The same is true of terrorists, of climate change, and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The sources of instability affect us all everywhere. And we must address them together. 

This is why NATO is working ever more closely with our partners, with countries, organizations, corporations, universities, think tanks around the world. Because our sacred mission that our founding fathers enshrined in the Washington Treaty remain as valid as ever, to keep our people safe, and the world safer. 

Let me say a few words about NATO's partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa. Because we have just heard from colleagues in the previous two panels discussing the Mediterranean and the Gulf regions, and I thank them all for their valuable insights. 

NATO has built relations with these regions over several decades now. 30 years with the Mediterranean Dialogue countries, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, and 20 years with the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, for countries, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. Close political dialogue and practical cooperation on security issues of common concern has been mutually beneficial and now entering the new generation of our individual tailored partnership programs. And I know that on both sides, we'll make all the effort to bring them to fruition and make them meaningful and useful, respectfully, to both of us, and to all of us together. 

NATO has also been present in Iraq since 2018, with a mission to support the Iraqis strengthening their security force institutions. I was so privileged to see the delegation of Mr. Crosetto, General Iannucci, who has been doing an exceptional work at the helm of our mission, and we are reaching out to more countries like Saudi Arabia. 

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg travelled to Riyadh last December, and we met our colleagues from Saudi Arabia also in the Munich Security Conference. So there is a lot of already existing work underway. 

But in a more dangerous world, we want to grow our partnership in the Middle East, North Africa and Sahel regions even further. And in order to, we have a lot of catch up to do, we have to do a better job ourselves in listening more, and engaging more in responding more to your needs. 

And this is the sense of these two days in Rome, to listen to each other, to learn from each other, and to understand that our security is indivisible, and we need each other more than ever. And bringing each of us what we have best to the table. Because in an unsecure world, nobody wins, than the ones who are against peace, terrorism, instability. And this is, I think, the meaning of this very important event today. 

This is why NATO is looking for opportunities for more dialogue and closer cooperation with nations, international organizations and other relevant diverse across the regions. I salute the fact that Mauritania, our partner is now taking over the African Union presidency. 

And of course, again, and again, grateful to Italy, and other Allies for driving NATO’s efforts in this direction. Brigadier General Alessio Nardi is a great contribution in the group of experts that our Secretary General appointed last year to help advance NATO's work in the so called Southern neighbourhoods. And the report of this super group of elite experts from many of our nations are now under active consideration in the council. And I know that all nations in NATO will be prioritizing and making sure that these fresh ideas, and some older ideas will become a reality, will become funded, and will become implementable as soon as possible. 

At the Washington Summit, ambassadors just reminded us, we’re only 90 days away from the Washington summit in July, our leaders will agree concrete and actionable recommendations to step our security offered to our partners. 

So let's work continuously to making sure that in Washington we deliver what you need, what we need and what together need. And for this, I count, and I know I can count on Italy's continuous support. And, for that matter, for from all of our Allies. We speak in NATO of 360s degree, indivisible for the one in the East, from the one in the North, on the one in cyberspace, or freedom of navigation, or the Arctic space. 

So these are very complicated times. These are the times that are probably our forefathers, in all of our nations, as in NATO individual nations in their own national histories. They were also facing massive challenges at the end of the Second World War. And they were up to the challenge, they were up to the task, and they created the most formidable and resilient Alliance in human history. 

Us, us, all of us, we are called to do the same. To put this world which is so complicated and dangerous back into some form of predictable security environment. 

And to be able to even sometimes get across our comfort zone and come with fresh ideas with respect, sometimes even humbleness in order to make sure that our children and our grandchildren for the next 75 years will be able to live in a world of peace, a world of the prosperity, a world of respect and a world that we are committed and obliged to serve. 

On behalf of the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg and all of us in the North Atlantic Council, I’m afraid I can’t speak on behalf of all our colleagues here. 
I would like again to thank Italy, for the indispensable role you play and for all our partners for being here, and I know that together, we'll make sure that our security is indivisible. 
And our future will not be as dark, clouded as the last few days, and years. 
Thank you so much. Dear Minister Crosetto, it is my privilege to welcome you to the podium.
Thank you so much.