Speech

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the Munich Conference of Security Policy

  • 09 Feb. 2007 - 09 Feb. 2007
  • |
  • Last updated: 21 Aug. 2008 17:17

Munich and this conference is, at least for me, but I hope also for you, always a useful what I call reality check. Let me try to take you by the hand anticipating your reactions and look a bit forward with you to NATO's sixtieth anniversary which we'll celebrate in 2009. And let me, for 2009, state a few key objectives as I would see them and I would have them for NATO.

I'll start where Minister Jung left; I'll start in Afghanistan because Afghanistan and success in Afghanistan is of course of key importance for the positive answer to the question - can the Alliance deliver? So in 2009 I think we should see Afghanistan on the road to long term peace and stability with the back of the resistance broken, undoubtedly still with a substantial NATO military presence on the ground, but with also a better balance between the military and civilian aspects of stabilization. And I hope that in 2009 we would see even much more visible reconstruction and development as we do already see nowadays because we should resist I think the impression that between 2001 and 2007 as we speak nothing has been achieved in Afghanistan. A lot has been achieved and there is certainly no reason for doom and gloom.

But I would hope that at NATO's sixtieth birthday in 2009, we would see an Afghan government which is better able to take the country in its own hands because that is after all what we are there for. What does that mean? That means a better effort on the ground and a better organization by all of us. And I think the recent NATO ministerial meetings have shown that the Allies are focused. But if I say more effort, I should start by saying that the priority is definitely on deploying sufficient forces; and when I say sufficient forces, you know as well as I do, that this is not a matter of bringing divisions in. But, after having said that, I add that the tactical reserve manoeuvre battalions, attack helicopters, engineering units, would make a big difference.

We have made a lot of progress in this regard. If I compare the situation as we speak with Riga, there are about 5,000 soldiers plus in Afghanistan, mainly I must say, thanks to the contribution of the United States of America, but also other allies have stepped up to the plate. But if you would ask me - are you completely happy and satisfied? My answer would be not yet. Not yet. And I'm saying this because if you, quite rightly as Minister Jung did and as Chancellor Merkel did this morning, if you make the major point of the comprehensive approach realizing that the answer in Afghanistan at the end of the day will not be a military answer, but it will be reconstruction and development, you need the right forces to make that possible.

In other words, the comprehensive approach - or a nice German expression – vernetzte Sicherheit - it's the same, need to be underpinned by substantial and sufficient forces and that is I think what also should be mentioned and I say this of course always twinned with the need for lifting the limitations, the so-called caveats on the current forces.

In 2009 ladies and gentleman, we should have fully implemented a training and equipment program for the Afghan National Army as we agreed at the Riga Summit. A lot has happened in this domain already by the United States and by many allies, but I think NATO, as an Alliance and we have agreed on this now, should make a much bigger effort in training and equipping the Afghan National Army. We had Afghan Defence Minister Wardak in Sevilla yesterday and we discussed this with him. We must make sure that that program is properly resourced and can support all echelons of the Afghan National Army. And I'm happy, because if I mention ANA I should mention Afghan National Police as well.  I'm very happy and I see Javier Solana sitting here in the front row, that the European Union is going to pay attention to the training of the Afghan National Police.

I think that you'll agree with me that Pakistan is vital to our success in Afghanistan. We have already close military-to-military relations with Pakistan. I see the new Supreme Allied Commander General Craddock and he does his bit, and the Commander ISAF does his bit, and the Afghan government does its bit, to have a substantial and serious military to military dialogue with Pakistan. I think it should now be teamed-up by a more intensive political dialogue. The Pakistani Prime Minister Aziz was discussing this with the North Atlantic Council only ten days ago and I think it is very important that we have a serious political dialogue with Pakistan because, as I said in my press conference with the Pakistani Prime Minister, we should all do more. We should all do more to find a solution for the problem posed by the border, because if we do not solve that problem, and I say -we again is Pakistan, is NATO, is Afghanistan - then we'll not do the job as I think we should do in Afghanistan. And I think in this regard, public rhetoric is unhelpful. Pakistan is important.

My second objective for 2009 is, we have to be much closer in '09 to making Europe what I call truly whole and stable. In 2009, I think we would see a Kosovo with a clear political status, solid institutions, serious economic development and yes, close co-operation with Serbia. And by the way, no more need for a heavy international military presence - 2009. I say this realizing that as we speak, KFOR is very necessary; KFOR should stay there and will stay there in full strength and there should be no doubt that KFOR is in Kosovo to protect majority and minority alike.

In 2009 I would like to see more countries in NATO. I would like to see a NATO of 26 plus. I would like to see Serbia firmly on the road to NATO and I would like to see us coming closer to honouring the ambitions of Ukraine and Georgia. And if I mentioned Ukraine you'll immediately react that is not easy and the Ukrainian people will have to decide themselves; nevertheless I say I hope in 2009 we'll see a stronger relationship with Ukraine as well.

My third observation is that at the 2009 summit, in my opinion, NATO leaders should endorse a new strategic concept for NATO. We have learned fundamental lessons and we are learning them as we speak from our operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo. And those, ladies and gentlemen, are the lessons of the 21st century and they are lessons of 21st century security. And those lessons, in my opinion, need to be enshrined in our guiding documents so that they can be implemented in practice. What are those lessons?

One. Our security is not just military. NATO must be fully integrated into the emerging network of international institutions and I was very happy with the speech made by Chancellor Merkel this morning because this was one of her key themes. A NATO fully integrated in the network of international institutions. That means a more structured relationship with the United Nations and as Minister Jung has stressed and Minister Steinmeier did a few days ago, a true strategic partnership with the European Union.

You want an example? Again, Kosovo. NATO will keep a substantial force in the transitional period; also, after a status discussion. NATO will assist in security sector reform. NATO hopefully will be leading in the formation of a Kosovo security force. But the European Union, as you know, will play the key role. The European Union has agreed the support for police, judicial reform and public administration. The EU will play, I say again, the leading role. The European Union and NATO should talk to each other on the technical level, on the political level, to make this into a success of both our organizations.

And you know it is my opinion that we can do better in this regard; we've made a good start. We had a recent Brussels ministerial meeting. It was on Afghanistan with the European Union Council and the Commission, the United Nations, the World Bank, major donations like the Republic of Korea and Japan, not because NATO wants to co-ordinate all those international organizations, but because NATO wants to co-ordinate with them and that is something else and something fundamentally different than the co-ordination of them.

Partnership, ladies and gentlemen, is a force multiplier. We must and will be working with nations from across the world to share our security burdens. NATO indeed, Minister Jung, I echo your words, NATO should not have the ambition to become the world's policeman - le gendarme du monde - but in a time of global threats and challenges, we cannot afford to pretend that we do not need global partners.

And one important partner sitting at my right hand side; Australian forces are fighting in Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan side-by-side with NATO forces, with the Dutch in this case. It is relevant that we realize that we need a political dialogue; we don't need heavy structures. We can do this in a practical and pragmatic way, but I think the Riga decision was a very important one, because it opens the door for NATO and our respected partners to be more serious in our political dialogue and to be more serious in practical co-operation. We cannot afford not to do this.

If I mention partners, I should of course also mention the important partner Russia and this year we're celebrating the tenth anniversary of the founding act and five years of NATO-Russia Council and we should use those anniversaries, I think, as an impulse for more co-operation and for a better effort to make that co-operation visible.

What do I make of President Putin's speech of this morning in this regard? I must honestly admit that I see a disconnect between the NATO-Russia Partnership as it is developing and as it has developed and President Putin's speech this morning and I can't hide my disappointment for it. I will not hide my disappointment. I think it's not helpful because this partnership between NATO and Russia is a partnership in which there is added-value for the two of them. There's added value for Russia and there's added value for NATO.

And who can be worried? I ask myself and you rhetorically - and I know I'm quoting this from President Ilves of Estonia - who can be worried that democracy and the rule of law is coming closer to somebody's borders? Who can be worried? I'm not and I think nobody should. And in that regard I would hope that ways will be found to lessen my disappointment and I think the disappointment by the Allies. And I recognize myself much better in Chancellor Merkel's speech because she was developing the comprehensive approach on a global scale. Vernetzte Sicherheit on a global scale. NATO, the United Nations, the European Union, major donors, the World Bank - you name them - that is I think the way we should go… if we pretend that there is no single organization which can give an answer to all the threats and challenges facing it. So I'm disappointed and I hope it will pass.

My penultimate remark… I'm not 100 percent sure, but I hope. I was speaking to you about my hopes for 2009… so we have still some time.

NATO, ladies and gentleman, will have to be an even stronger forum than it is as we speak for trans-Atlantic political consultation. We need to constantly improve our expertise and give our diplomats and commanders on the ground, and I see them sitting here with us, the best strategic guidance. We owe that to them and we owe that to the thousands - over 50,000 men and women in uniform - who are now as we speak defending our common values and we need to give them the best strategic guidance we can find and we can have.

The strategic guidance is coupled and teamed in my opinion with a fundamental political dialogue on the broadest range of subjects and that includes a subject like energy security. You find that in the Riga Declaration. That includes the subject, in my opinion, which was discussed this morning as well - a subject like missile defence. It is relevant for NATO and for the NATO Allies to discuss missile defence and I think that a discussion and a debate on missile defence should be NATO-ized. I realize that's not good English, but I hope you understand what I mean.

My penultimate remark ladies and gentlemen. A 21st century NATO needs 21st century tools. We owe our forces who do the job modern capabilities. And I think in Riga we made important conceptual breakthroughs with the Comprehensive Political Guidance with Network Enabled Capabilities and with an ambition to look at more common funding, to look at better organized capabilities such as an operational NATO Response Force. But we now need to focus on implementation. You get what you pay for and NATO gets what it pays for. We need to identify how to resource our ambitions through a combination of national, multi-national and common-funded solutions.

But if I say that, dear friends, let's not ignore absolute defence spending levels. You can want a lot, you can have high-level ambitions, but if you have a defence budget on the down slope, its empty talk and that is why and you'll expect this from me as all my predecessors said, we have an informal benchmark of two percent defence spending of our gross domestic product. Let's please not forget that. NATO needs to be a trainer. We can't and shouldn't try to do it all. We need to train - I gave you the example of Afghanistan - but we also launched in Riga an important training initiative for our Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Co-operation Initiative Partners and we must develop this program.

Ladies and gentlemen, my goal is to have these elements embedded within the Alliance's structures and working cultures by the time of the 2009 summit including, as I said, hopefully through a new strategic concept. So, in conclusion, no quiet days ahead for NATO; no quiet days ahead for the Allies. But NATO should be fully fit for the purpose in the 21st century. That is a responsibility we have collectively. NATO is a unique organization. It has always been a unique organization and finding the 21st century answers to the 21st century questions and do that together.