NATO Deputy Secretary General Alessandro Minuto Rizzo
to the NATO Defense College Senior Course 99
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You have come to NATO at a particularly busy period of the year. Two
weeks ago we hosted a meeting of Chiefs of Defence Staffs. Later this
week, NATO Foreign Ministers will convene here at NATO HQ. And in just
a fortnight, NATO Defence Ministers will also gather here.
But that is not all. The time where NATO officials only met amongst
themselves has long gone. They also meet with all their colleagues from
the Alliance's 27 Partner countries, and hold separate meetings with their
Russian and Ukrainian counterparts. Moreover, there will also be a joint
meeting of NATO and EU Foreign Ministers -- the second of its kind, and
a testament to the rapid development of NATO-EU cooperation, on which
I will say more in just a few minutes.
Having studied NATO for several months, you will not be surprised that
the fight against terrorism is high on the agenda of all these different
meetings. For the public at large, however, it is easy to underestimate
just how the terrorist attacks against the United States have affected
the Alliance. Because rather than to demoralize NATO or throw us off balance,
the attacks have actually energised the Alliance. They have united both
the Allies and their Partners, rallied them behind the ongoing US-led
operations in Afghanistan, and committed them to taking all necessary
measures to combat terrorism.
Following the invocation of Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, Allies have
taken a number of important steps, individually and collectively. Several
individual Allies have offered forces and other military assets, and together,
the Allies have agreed to the deployment of NATO AWACS aircraft to monitor
US airspace, and of Alliance naval forces to the Eastern Mediterranean.
The upcoming Ministerial meetings will be a valuable opportunity both
to evaluate these efforts, and to discuss possible further measures.
At the same time, we must all guard against the notion that NATO is
now all about terrorism, and that everything we did before 11 September
has suddenly become less relevant. This is simply not true. Indeed, in
many ways, the events of 11 September have reinforced the logic of NATO's
pre-existing agenda -- they have not merely vindicated NATO's efforts
in a wide range of areas, but actually also given fresh impetus to many
of these efforts.
Take, for example, NATO's relations with Russia. NATO has long been
convinced of Russia's key role in any new European security architecture.
However, despite considerable efforts, we have so far been unable to develop
a genuine partnership with Russia -- a relationship that promotes joint
approaches to common security challenges, but in which we can also be
frank in putting controversial issues on the table.
Following the events of 11 September, we have definitely come much closer
to such a NATO-Russia partnership. In Russian eyes, Article 5 was always
the quintessential demonstration of NATO's anti-Russian orientation. Now
NATO has invoked Article 5 -- but in an entirely different context, a
context Russia can understand and relate to, as demonstrated by the determination
it has shown to work with NATO in the fight against terrorism.
Secretary General Robertson has met President Putin and other senior
Russian officials twice these past few months to capitalise on this new
momentum. And we may expect further progress towards a qualitatively new
relationship when NATO Foreign and Defence Ministers meet with their Russian
counterparts over the next few weeks.
Russia, of course, is only one of NATO's Partners, albeit an important
one. NATO has 26 more Partners in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council,
and they have all stood with the United States and the rest of the Alliance
these last three months. This is a vindication of the determined effort
NATO has made since the end of the Cold War to foster a common Euro-Atlantic
security culture. But it is also, and above all, a strong incentive to
continue on this path.
That, I am quite sure, is what NATO Ministers will decide to do. They
will propose to their EAPC colleagues to enhance the sharing of information
and coordination of activities against terrorism. But they will also want
to give a push to the operationalisation of our cooperation in other areas,
notably our ability to work together rapidly and effectively in meeting
security challenges such as those presented by Afghanistan.
We have, of course, already seen a great deal of effective cooperation
between NATO and its Partners in the Balkans. The events of 11 September
have reinforced the logic of the Alliance's engagement in that region.
The whole purpose of this engagement is to help create stable, sustainable,
multi-ethnic democracies, in which there is no room for hatred, crime
and terrorism to fester.
These next few weeks, both Foreign and Defence Ministers will no doubt
want to reconfirm their intention to draw all the Balkan countries back
into the European mainstream. The Allies remain firmly committed to assisting
this reintegration process -- by providing the secure environment in which
other international organisations can do their work and reconstruction
can take place, but also by backing up diplomatic efforts with military
force if needed, such as in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Integrating countries into the European mainstream also remains the
prime objective of NATO's enlargement process. Decisions on new members
are not for the forthcoming Ministerial meetings, but for a meeting of
NATO Heads of State and Government to be held in Prague a year from now.
The nine countries that are declared aspirants to NATO membership know
this. They also know that the Allies expect them to continue their focused
efforts to prepare for possible future membership, making full use of
the opportunities offered through our Membership Action Plan. Nonetheless,
NATO Ministers will no doubt want to use the opportunity of their meetings
this month to remind the aspirants of their commitments. They will, at
the same time, wish to ensure that the Alliance adequately prepares itself
-- politically and materially -- to assimilate new members.
One thing that I am sure Secretary General Robertson, for his part,
will want to remind NATO Ministers of, is their commitment to improve
the Alliance's military capabilities. The events of 11 September, and
the military action that has followed them, have highlighted the urgency
of the Defence Capabilities Initiative taken by NATO Heads of State and
Government in 1999.
Our forces faced a multitude of different challenges -- from peacekeeping,
through anti-terrorist operations to, ultimately, collective defence --
so they must have the best possible technology, and that requires adequate
funding. No one is suggesting an excessive rush to fund security to the
detriment of other vital government programmes. Just as before 11 September,
preserving the security of our societies requires the right amount of
spending, spent in the right way. But if there is one thing we should
all have learned these last few months, it is that we must prepare not
only for what we can predict, but also for what we cannot.
European capabilities, in particular, should be reinforced. Because
they clearly lag far behind what the United States has to offer within
the NATO context. And because this is the only way for European nations
to provide substance to the so-called European Security and Defence Identity.
The events of 11 September are bound to lead, sooner or later, to a new
discussion about a re-balancing of responsibilities between North America
If that happens - when that happens - America's allies must be ready
to give a decent answer. Showing political solidarity, as they did after
the 11 September attacks, is only part of the answer. The strong European
military presence in the Balkans, and the enormous financial investment
the Europeans are making there, are also just parts of the answer. Ultimately,
the answer must be more comprehensive. It must include a new European
willingness to develop serious crisis management capabilities, with new
military hardware. Secretary General Robertson will, I am sure, not hesitate
to point this out as well.
Finally, 11 September, and the acts of bio-terrorism that have followed
it, have also vindicated and given new impetus to the Alliance's efforts
to counter the threat posed by the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Deliberations have intensified within the Alliance on how we can better
assist national authorities in the protection of their populations against
the dangers of a WMD attack. And because we realise that this is a problem
which literally knows no boundaries, we have also initiated within the
context of the EAPC the preparation of an inventory of national capabilities
which could be made available to assist affected Allied or Partner countries
in case of such an attack.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Just as our Chiefs of Defence Staffs a few weeks ago, our Foreign and
Defence Ministers will have busy agendas when they meet here at NATO Headquarters
in a few days, and terrorism will feature prominently on these agendas.
But Ministers will realise that preserving security and safety in this
new age of uncertainty requires a comprehensive toolbox. The Alliance
must also continue to build stronger relations with Russia and many other
countries in Europe, and to help them with their evolution into modern,
democratic and prosperous states. We must be able to handle our peacekeeping
missions in the Balkans. And we must continue to reshape the transatlantic
relationship, making it more balanced and better prepared -- materially
as well as politically -- for the hard security challenges that will continue
This is a daunting agenda, on top of the immediate demands related to
the fight against terrorism. But one thing is certain : to meet all these
various requirements is essential if we want to continue to ensure Euro-Atlantic
security with the same success we have had for NATO's first five decades.