by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council with the Group of Experts on NATO's New Strategic Concept
On behalf of the Council let me extend a warm welcome to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Group of Experts which has been preparing the way towards our new Strategic Concept. Secretary Albright and Mr van der Veer, it is good to have you back with us this morning. Let me also welcome all of the other members of the Group of Experts who have joined us today.
Today is an important milestone. The Group of Experts that I appointed last August has now finished its work and has handed us its report, setting out its analysis and recommendations. The report is detailed and comprehensive and I know that all delegations will want to study it with great care in the coming days. This said, I know that Secretary Albright and Mr van der Veer would be interested in having the preliminary reactions of Ambassadors this morning.
In a moment I will turn to them to present the Group’s report to us. But I would like first and foremost, and again on behalf of the Council as well as on my own behalf, to thank Secretary Albright, Jeroen van der Veer and all the members of the Group of Experts for their hard work. Since last August they have held in depth consultations with all Allies, and I would like to thank Allies for all their contributions, from organising seminars to contributing think-pieces.
The Group has also reached out beyond NATO to civil society and the strategic community, partners and international organisations, particularly the United Nations, the European Union and the OSCE. When I launched the process leading to NATO’s new Strategic Concept last August, I promised it would be the most open, transparent and inclusive in NATO’s history. The Group of Experts has certainly lived up to that commitment.
Allies have also been strongly involved throughout, by organising seminars with the Group or contributing food-for-thought papers. Partners too have taken this exercise very seriously. They have held consultations with the Group of Experts at various stages of the process. So I would like to acknowledge their efforts as well.
Another word of thanks must go to the Chairman of the Military Committee, to our two Strategic Commanders, and to the Military Committee. No Report like this could fail to include a substantive contribution from the NATO military authorities and their contribution is well reflected.
Bien sûr, le rapport du Groupe d’experts n’est pas notre nouveau concept stratégique, dont l’élaboration constituera la phase suivante du processus. Mais j’estime que le rapport que vous avez devant vous aujourd'hui met l’accent sur les points essentiels; présente les défis les plus urgents; et formule des propositions claires de changement. Les Alliés peuvent ne pas être d’accord avec certaines d’entre elles, ce qui est naturel puisqu’il s’agit d’un rapport indépendant établi par un groupe indépendant, lui aussi. Ce rapport nous met néanmoins en position de prendre le meilleur départ possible.
Je me tourne à présent vers la Secrétaire d’État Madame Madeleine Albright et Monsieur van der Veer, qui nous présenteront successivement le rapport du Groupe.