Updated: 22-Jan-2003 NATO Press Releases

(2003) 003

22 January 2003

NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson
to stand down December 2003

NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, today confirmed that he will step down in December 2003 at the end of his term in office.

Lord Robertson said:

My decision has been made following a long period of reflection. I have greatly enjoyed working in and for NATO, and nothing on our current agenda has changed that in any way. I have been asked by a number of governments to stay on for the optional fifth year but I believe four years is the right term in this demanding and onerous job, and I’m looking forward to another full and active year ahead before I go.

I came to NATO over three years ago with clear objectives: better and more relevant military capabilities; maintaining strong transatlantic relationships; an effective crisis management capacity built on the lessons learned in Kosovo; a resumed and deepened relationship with Russia; a firm basis for a further enlargement; a clear way forward to democracy and stability in the Western Balkans; completing the ESDP/ESDI defence link between NATO and the EU; and rigorous internal reform in NATO – its budget, committee and management structure, new personnel policies and greater delegated chief executive power for the office of the Secretary General.

In all of these areas change has already been achieved or is being delivered. NATO is being transformed for the 21st century.

I was also faced with the crises over Montenegro, Southern Serbia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 1. Three times NATO prevented new blood baths in the Balkans. Then came the atrocities of the 11 September 2001. I was the first Secretary General in NATO’s history to announce that the 19 allies were invoking our core commitment, Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – an attack on the US was an attack on all 19 Allies. Since then I have seen the Alliance pick up the challenge posed by terrorism and the proliferation of bio/chemical and nuclear weapons.

I think that amounts to a reasonable record for one Secretary General – and there are still eleven months to go before I depart.

Additional information:

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name
+32 (0)2 707 50 41
+32 (0)2 707 50 57
B-1110 Brussels/Bruxelles

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