‘Common Solutions to Common Problems’: Secretary General visits Israel
Addressing ways to increase dialogue and cooperation between NATO and the Mediterranean Dialogue partners, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, visited Israel on 9 February.
During his visit, the Secretary General met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman. Following his meeting with the Prime Minister, Rasmussen highlighted that “I am here because Israel is a highly valued member of one of our partnerships, the so-called Mediterranean Dialogue. I am here because we share security concerns and interests in counter-terrorism, countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, missile defence and energy disruption. We appreciate very much the cooperation we have with Israel, bilaterally, as well as within the Mediterranean Dialogue, and I look very much forward to developing this cooperation in the coming years. The security challenges of today cannot be successfully tackled by any country alone, so we have to cooperate and strengthen the political dialogue as well as practical cooperation."
Prime Minister Netanyahu said this was a time of great uncertainty in the region: "NATO and Israel have been cooperating for many years. We look forward to cooperating with you at all times, but especially in these times."
The Secretary General also delivered a keynote speech at the 11th Annual Herzliya Conference, which covers a wide range of security issues.
Rasmussen spoke about the future of NATO’s relations with Israel and the other Mediterranean Dialogue partners. He emphasised that the future of these relations depended on “how we define our common threats and challenges, finding common solutions and understanding that we share a common destiny.”
The Secretary General noted that the new Strategic Concept identifies a number of emerging security threats, including the proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism. He elaborated that “we need to continue seeking common solutions” and there are “three priority areas where there is scope for improvement: political consultations, practical cooperation and operations.”
He emphasised that “I do not have illusions about NATO’s role in providing security in the region: NATO cannot solve all the problems and it never intended to do so. But we can still provide a substantial added value in the region.”
The Secretary General concluded with a broader message about increasing cooperation towards more peace and stability globally: “The foundations of regional cooperation have to be set today, in order to address the challenges of tomorrow. It is up to us to increase our efforts to bring common solutions to common problems, so that our common destiny will be one of peace and stability.”