Pre-Summit press briefing by the NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu

Opening remarks

  • 16 May. 2012
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  • Last updated: 16 May. 2012 14:40

Thank you very much for coming.

Just to set out the ground rules. As you can see, this is off-camera and I will run you through the programme and the choreography of the Summit in a minute.
We also have with us our mystery briefer, who I will introduce in a few minutes. He will brief you on what we can expect from the discussions and the decisions at the Summit on Afghanistan and you can attribute what he says to “a senior NATO official”. 

Just for our colleagues who have just joined us, just to say this is off-camera. What I say, obviously, is on the record, as usual. What our senior NATO official will be saying will be on background.

We will be issuing the media advisory – the second media advisory - with all the details of the Summit later today, and so you can have them as soon as possible, this should be on the website soon.

On Sunday, we will be planning for the Secretary General to make a short doorstep statement in Chicago just before the first working session, and that should be at 1 pm Chicago time. And of course, we will confirm the details as soon as we can.

The Summit will start at 2.15 pm on Sunday, with a session at 28 which will focus on our defence capabilities and how to keep on delivering security in a time of financial austerity.  This is when we expect Allies to approve the package of measures on Defence Capabilities.

The package we expect to include agreement on over 20 multinational projects aimed at filling some of the key capabilities gaps that we face. And it will encapsulate NATO’s long-term commitment to a renewed culture of cooperation between Allies – that is what we call Smart Defence.

Also at this first session will discuss the Alliance’s overall posture in deterring and defending against the full range of threats in the 21st century, and take stock of NATO’s mix of conventional, nuclear and missile defence forces. You remember this is a task from the Lisbon Summit. At the Lisbon Summit Allied leaders called for a review of our deterrence and defence posture. So in Chicago, we will set out the result.

Finally, also in this first session we expect Allies to declare an Interim Missile Defence Capability, and to approve the NATO summit declaration. So altogether it is going to be quite a packed first session.

The Secretary General will give his first press conference at the Media Centre afterwards, and that is planned for around 5.25 pm Chicago time. The Heads of State and Government  will then go to their family photo, and to a working dinner chaired by the Secretary General.

At the same time, NATO Foreign Ministers will attend an informal dinner chaired by the NATO Deputy Secretary General and that will focus on partnerships. We also expect the European Union High Representative Cathy Ashton to attend.

Separately, the NATO Ministers of Defence will have an informal working dinner chaired by the US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, where they will focus on defence capabilities.

On Monday, work will start fairly early - at 8.30 Chicago time - with a session on Afghanistan and that will take place in what we call the “Expanded ISAF” format.  The meeting will include NATO Allies, ISAF partners, Japan; we also expect  Pakistan, Russia, Central Asian countries and international organisations. So this will be an exceptional show of commitment of the whole international community to the people of Afghanistan and to the future of Afghanistan. Because we all have an interest in seeing stability and security in Afghanistan, so we all have a responsibility to contribute to it.

In concrete terms, three issues on the agenda: the next stage of our engagement until our ISAF mission is completed at the end of 2014; the role for NATO after 2014; and the size, cost and financing of the future Afghan security forces.

After this expanded ISAF meeting, the Secretary General will give a press conference at around 11:30am Chicago time.

In parallel, the foreign ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will meet with NATO foreign ministers to discuss the whole range of Summit issues.

Finally, the Secretary General will chair a special one-off summit meeting with 13 partner countries from around the world who make particular contributions to our operations in particular areas – operational contributions, financial contributions and political contributions. This be an opportunity to recognise these important contributions that our partners make, to thank them for their support, and to discuss how we can continue working together to find global solutions to global challenges.

All together, in Chicago we will gather at this Summit the largest number of partners ever to attend a NATO Summit, with around 60 countries and organisations present.

After this meeting, the Secretary General will give the closing press conference, at around 1.45 pm.  And this concludes what I have to say on the record, with just one note.

Going back in time, before the start of the Summit, on Saturday morning, Chicago time, the Secretary General will make a speech at the Youth Summit so that will be a preview of his expectation for the Summit agenda at the Youth Summit in Chicago on Saturday morning. The timing, of course, will be announced in due course, but I expect it will be fairly early in the morning. 

So this is what I had to say on the record.