|Updated: 04-Oct-2002||NATO Speeches|
3 October 2002
“What can the EU contribute to a Revitalised Transatlantic Security Partnership”
given by Mr Javier Solana,
Chairman: As a former Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana I think requires no introduction here, but let me say that in his current quality of High Representative of the European Union for foreign policy and security policy, he is the living bridge between the two organisations, and therefore it is quite a privilege to have you come up with a case for the European perspective on the assessment which we have been making and which right now is a sober assessment, let’s put it that way.
Javier Solana: Thank you very much. It is not an easy task to talk at 4.00 in the afternoon after a whole day in which you have been looking at the same problem from different angles. I will try to do my best in the short intervention and see whether I can complete the intervention in answering the questions you may want to put to me.
I understand you want me to talk a little bit about what we can do from the European Union, what can be the contribution of the European Union to revitalise the transatlantic security partnership, this is the title you have given me. And I will try to answer briefly some of the questions, some of the elements that I think we can contribute to revitalise the transatlantic security partnership.
Let me start by saying that I am not a pessimist. I don’t think that we are in the moment of a big crisis in the transatlantic relationship, I think we have lived moments even more difficult than the one we live today. I think that we are looking at the world, if the journalists allow me to say, with a zoom and not with a wide angle, and we are concentrated in a very short span of time and we have tried to draw conclusions from the shortest span of time to a much broader and quieter time span frame. And therefore looking at the world as I look at it, and having lived through what we have lived, it is very difficult to be pessimistic, and therefore I think and I will defend a not stupid and naïve optimism, because this is not part of somebody who has a profession in theoretical physics, I am not an optimist, I am a rational man but not an optimist. But I think that we are sometimes, at this very moment, looking at the world and the problems of the world with a zoom and a microscope and we are losing maybe the wider picture. And I think that if look at the microscope, of course we see a tremendous amount of problems, but if we look at with a wide angle, and we are able to look at it with a wide angle, we have tremendous elements of optimism.
I will tell you what has happened to me today, as an example. I have got up very early in the morning, I met the Deputy of the National Security Council, who was with you this morning, we talked about many things in a tremendously co-operative fashion between the European Union and the United States, and I am talking to the deputy of Condaleeza Rice, and without any difficulty we have agreed on just about everything we talked about. I met after that the President of Bulgaria - a happy man. His country is going to be probably, in the near future, part of NATO - the dream of their life. And I met later on the President of Latvia which is going to be a country that in a few weeks is going to be part of the European Union and NATO - the dream of that country. And later on I received Carla del Ponte, the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal of Yugoslavia, in which she tells me that two days ago Madam Plavsic has recognised publicly that she has committed crimes against humanity, and therefore that Milosevic will be condemned, and not only that, that opens a tremendously beautiful page of justice in the world.
OK, these are elements that happen in one day which are prone to optimism of what a situation looks like. Of course we can take the opposite and say that pessimism is the order of the day because many, many things are taking place which call or not on pessimism. But I would like to send a little message of things which are happening, not only in the continent of Europe, but also in the relations between the Europeans and the United States that a year ago, two years ago, would have been unthinkable, unthinkable. Therefore when things happened as rapidly it is because we move things rapidly and we can say that we should be a little bit more optimistic.
I see in the first row Ambassador Kislyak, with whom I have discussed so many times, in all my life so many things, from the CFE Treaty, to the first agreement between NATO and the Russian Federation, and I remember how much he wanted to be at one time 20 instead of 19 plus 1, and he is now 20.
So there are things that move, and they move very well and they move rapidly and they move in an optimistic way. But therefore I am not going to be naïve, therefore I am going to say now the negative things. But let me say that for the European Union what do we have to do? We have first to revitalise the transatlantic alliance, the transatlantic link. I think the first thing we have to do is to adapt and improve our military capabilities, and I like to say that, and underline that, and underline as many times as necessary that, without military capabilities, without the political will of having military capabilities we may have committees, organisations for decision-making, whatever we want, and we will not have the reality to do things. And therefore the first thing we can do, the most important thing we can do to revitalise the security transatlantic relationship is to really make an effort to construct military capabilities within the European Union. I say that loudly, I don't think I can say it more clearly, and that is my message that tomorrow I will pass again when we meet the Ministers of Defence, or they meet the Ministers of Defence of the European Union and I will be addressing them.
This is a key question. Now you have been discussing before about with three very important people, and my old friend Klaus Naumann, which is what type of capabilities and how to do it, and that is the problem. We have decided to do it through a mechanism that we call ACAP, which is the bottom-up mechanism and is voluntary, which is not very different from what you are doing at NATO through the DCI, which is voluntary and is bottom-up. My question is to an audience like this, and I would not want to provoke, are we choosing the right way to do it, and I have my doubts, honestly. I think if we let these mechanisms of getting capabilities, to mechanisms which are bottom-up and which are voluntary, and the nation takes the lead that there is not really, really follow-up which is efficient, I doubt that we would be able to provide the results that George Robertson wants to provide in Prague and I don't think we will be able to provide, … will want to provide beyond Prague.
So I think we have to give some reflection to the mechanism whereby we do this, we put these panels, these mechanisms to obtain capabilities in a much more efficient manner and therefore in a shorter period of time.
I arrived just at the moment in which Klaus Naumann was talking about how difficult it is for a European politician to convince his fellow citizens that they have to spend more on defence, and that is very clear, I am not talking about the generation of Klaus in my generation, but for a moment we think of our fathers, if they were in our life and they would look at Europe today, from Lisbon to Moscow you cannot conceive a potential war. It is very difficult to tell a European that they are in a risky world, it is the time in our history that probably we are in a better and more secure environment, that is the sentiment that we have and that is the sentiment that the average citizen of Europe has today. We don't have any possibility of conflict in the continent, the Balkans was an exception, but there is not a sentiment of risk at this point in time, therefore I don't know if it is the intelligent community that has to create the atmosphere of risk, but it seems to me that it is very difficult, even for the people around here, to create a climate that is a climate of difficulty, and of risk, and therefore politicians like me, I am a politician and I want to win election, like any other politician, it is very difficult to say things that are not very well understood by the citizens, or … as to what the average citizen thinks.
Therefore a common effort by the leaders of the European Union and the people who think in a more long lasting term, longer term, we have to begin to have a debate about threats, risks and challenges, and that is something that we have not done and probably we have to do it and do it rapidly.
But I would like to put also a note of optimism here because when we have, we read carefully for instance what Bill Drozdiak has done through the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations, if you look at it in that way, really the average European and the average American think very much alike about most of the issues. It is very surprising, that. We have probably leaders … less alike than the average citizen that do think alike. This is a very important point and I think it should be raised and it should be worked a little bit beyond because it is really very, very important what is there.
Let me touch on another point which I think is controversial. In the European Union we have countries which have from the point of view of their military engagement historically and at present absolutely different, are very different, it is not the same country A to country B. Imagine for a moment that the United States needed an army from South Dakota, and the other from Oregon, and the other from California, and the other from New York, and you put all that together, the added value of that is not very immense, but we have to do that, we have to put together things that belong to countries which are in nature very different, from the military point of view very different, we may have the same capabilities in trade proportional to our GDP, but not militarily, their traditions, their capabilities etc. For instance, the United Kingdom is a country that has been accustomed from the very beginning to deploy forces outside its borders, but there are very few countries in Europe that have been accustomed to have their forces outside their borders. I still remember, for different reasons, a night in 1996 when we deployed the first forces in Bosnia, a country like Germany could not deploy a single soldier, and that is an important event because it is the most important country of the European Union economically wise.
A few years later the Commander in Chief of KFOR was a four star general from Germany. In four years therefore we did tremendously. When we look at it with the wide angle, it is really a fantastic achievement in four years from not being able to deploy a single soldier, the Commander in Chief of KFOR was a four star general from Germany. Well that is one thing that we have to do in order to answer the question of how we can continue to revitalise this transatlantic security partnership. I think we have to do better militarily, full stop, I do not go any longer on that.
Second, I think we have to develop a broader security agenda. I think that today everybody will agree with me if I said that security of course is not only to talk about military, security has a broader component in which I think the amount of things that we can do together, in which we can cooperate to make this world a better place, are very, very, very broad. This world is a very complex world in which the United States and the European Union, with the flexibility of the European Union, the United States and the complexities of the others, we can do a lot. And I think that is a very important question that we have to analyse and not concentrate only on the military aspects, which are very important.
I would like to say, because I believe it, coming from a country that has suffered and continues to suffer a lot from terrorism, I have been a member of the government of my country for thirteen years and a half, it is not a short period of time, and it was difficult to remember a month, or even less than a month, in which I have not been at a funeral for somebody from my country, or from my family, that has been killed in a terrorist act. That is for years, and years and years. So therefore I think that we have to understand that we will not defeat terrorism by military means only, I think it is a simplistic approach if we think that we are going to defeat terrorism only with military means.
Therefore to open up the broader context of how to fight against terrorism I think is very, very important. And that is where we have some spirits and without having all the military capabilities when they need it in a given moment, but I don't think we have to concentrate and to look at everything through the prism of military activity in looking at the challenges that we have today. For instance, I think we have together to make a much, much more serious effort to understand the others. I listened the other day to somebody who I don't listen to very often, which is the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he said something very simple, when we call somebody evil, we have to think there is a reason why he is evil, and we have to look at the causes of why this man is evil. I am not - of being a follower of the Archbishop of Canterbury, but I think it is common sense and I think we have to make an effort to understand what is going on in the world, and I think we have together, Europeans and Americans, to make an effort to understand better other parts of the world, the Islamic world. And I am very pleased to see that having a good conversation with Richard Hass, the Director of Planning from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the US, that he is also thinking on these lines. I think we have to make an effort to understand that world and to understand it better, and that is not a short term process, it is a long term process and we have to start it the sooner the better if we want to understand a very broad part of the world, that without understanding it better we will not give the capability of understanding, and by understanding being able to solve some of the problems that they pose to us.
Now I think that we Europeans, we can put at the disposal of the transatlantic link a wide range of capabilities that we do have at the European Union's control, from the diplomatic aspects, to humanitarian aid, to the question pertaining to police etc, police in the international peacekeeping operations, all these things are very, very important and we should put them together to contribute to making this fight that we have with the challenges of today. Because I don't think that diplomacy, the Indian Prime Minister said the other day to me that sometimes we may have the risk of having the diplomacy of the checklist, we get up in the morning we say Country A is solved, Country B is solved, Country C is solved. That is not the way it is. The problem is when we want to solve it it takes a long, long, long time, it requires a lot of tenacity, a lot of work and a lot of … we want to solve. And therefore this is another thing that is absolutely fundamental. I think the tradition of the European has been in that sense probably better understood that the problems are not solved in 24 hours, but that the problems need a long time to be matured, to be understood in order to be resolved, and that is the nature of the world and that is what it is. And if we don’t want to look at it like that, it will be very difficult to solve the problems.
So we have, and this is the last idea that I would like to leave with you, that we need to get involved early in the problems and we have to maintain and stay with the same course for a long period of time. I have been not long ago in Kabul and I can tell you that there is a lot that has to be done there, it will require a tremendous effort of all of us, Europeans and Americans, and if we don't do it it will be a tremendous failure, a tremendous failure. Therefore get involved soon and maintain the course with perseverance, with tenacity is really fundamental, we can do that. And we can contribute also, together with the United States, to do that.
I am not talking, and I don't want to talk about soft security, I would like to talk about smart security, which is not the same, and I think we can together recuperate the sense of a smart security which is absolutely necessary.
Now let me finish by saying that I have to use the word multilateralism once – it is the first time I used it, and I wish I didn't have to use it and I wish I could find another coin, another terminology to do this to describe the same term, multilateralism. But it is true that for us Europeans multilateralism is our life. We are not multilaterally because we are naïve, we are multilaterally because we had to choose between multilateralism or war. Europe in the last century was at war, and when the war was over, the Second World War, we decided to do multilateralism with the umbrella of the United States, and it worked very well, and today it is impossible to imagine that France and Germany are going to fight, and we are going to have good relations with Russia because we have the European Union which is a fantastic example of a multilateral effort.
Having said that, I am very troubled by the expression which is that more anti-multilateralism that I have heard is the mission determines the coalition. I think honestly, having been Secretary General of NATO, that we had a coalition and the coalition understands and the analyst makes the analysis of the mission, but to say that the mission determined the coalition is to do away with NATO and to do away with the transatlantic relationship or the transatlantic link I think is a tremendous mistake. The mission doesn't determine the coalition, the coalition exists. If it is the moment to say to the coalition that …, it is better that somebody says that clearly empathic. For the time being I think that the coalition exists, therefore the coalition determines the mission and it may be that the whole coalition is not implicated in every mission, but in any case we have to believe that the coalition exists and that the coalition is a transatlantic link in security and security is NATO, and if we don’t take that seriously we have to change the rules of the game. Therefore I would like very much that this multilateral approach, modest multilateral approach, and this we have to maintain in the body of NATO. Therefore I make a plea for trying to continue working on the idea that we have a coalition, the members of the coalition are making efforts to have more capabilities, to work more useful, to work more active, etc, etc, etc, but if we break with the idea that we have a preconceived and pre-coalition, we have really changed the rules of the game, at least the rules of the game that I learned when I was Secretary General of NATO.
I will stop here, again with a sign of not pessimism, of a certain realism of optimism. I don't think that we are in a world which is much more difficult in effort, I think we have many problems, but we have also many elements in which we can think that a lot has been done, it has been done rightly by the fact that we have worked together and therefore let us continue working together. To navigate, or to surf the transatlantic ocean sometimes is not easy, sometimes you have the waves which are high, sometimes you have plain water, but we have to be able to navigate in good weather and also in bad weather, and I think we have been able to do that and there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to continue to do this.
Chairman: Thank you very much for this broad, positive and stimulating perspective. I am sure it will encourage more questions and reactions from the floor.
I hope that Mr Solana can stay with us for some time.
Question (Bill Crawley, Institute for Defence Analyses, Washington DC) : I have a question about Secretary Rumsfeld's proposed NATO Response Force, and what the relationship that would be with the European Rapid Reaction Force. And Julian Lindley-French in the previous talk gave the impression that the EU would, sort of, work the local problems; you know, more of a lower level peace-keeping effort and that NATO ought to be the global responder. But I would just like the Secretary General's views on that.
Mr Solana: I answered that question from today, from the information that we have today, of the NATO Rapid Reaction Force which I have read is two pages and a half, no more than that, therefore it is very difficult to construct a big theory about that. I think I have the impression that what Secretary Rumsfeld is trying to say is that a concept that was created a time ago, that was the CJTF concept, can be used now for a rapid deployment of forces with – and that is a big question of today - if it is of a defensive or an offensive nature. If it is for offensive nature we change the nature of the Alliance and I think we have to think about that. Also, the Alliance is a defensive alliance by definition and we described that very clearly in the Washington Summit and we opened a new avenue in Washington, in the Summit in Washington, for peace-keeping, peace-making operations. If we want beyond that I think we have to, the people or the countries that belong to NATO, they have to think about that and what is the meaning of that.
Now relations with the European Union: I think that NATO has to be compatible with DCI. I would like to do the response in the other way: I would like to have that compatible with the European Union, I think it is fair, and therefore let us see if we can do something which is compatible. It should be compatible because we are not going to have two armies – one army to serve with NATO and the other army to serve with the European Union, we will have one in every country. Therefore we had better have these ideas compatible; therefore the more we talk about it, the more we discuss about it the better.
Now the problem I have and the problem that George Robertson has, is a very dramatic one when we talk – probably you do not know it but I have to discover a secret between the military of the European Union and the military of NATO is forbidden that they talk – forbidden. I do not know the faces by now, the military staff from the European Union and somebody from SHAPE cannot speak to each other. They can go to lunch but they cannot formally speak to each other. You can imagine, having said that, that we are producing miracles because formally they are not allowed to talk to each other. And that, you have to know it, and the blame for that? I do not know, we can put the blame wherever you want but at this point in time the Chief of the Military Staff of the European Union cannot speak with the Deputy SACEUR, and remember that Berlin Plus is about that. But I want to insist, they cannot speak to each other; they are not allowed to speak to each other. But we have to, even in these circumstances, we have to try to make it compatible and we will do it.
Question (Antonio …, Adviser to Spain's
Minister of Defence)
Mr Solana: Well, I have not spoken about Iraq or weapons of mass destruction because I have been following the morning and I did not want to repeat what has been said so many times in the morning, but with pleasure I address that issue. Let me start by saying that weapons of mass destruction is going to be with us as the most important challenge for the coming years, and therefore any country which is sensible – and I think that the countries of the European Union are sensible – they have to do their utmost – their utmost - to avoid proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. And of that, we will be in the first line, and do not have any doubts about that and we will be together with the United States and whoever wants to be in the fighting with weapons of mass destruction. We may have difference of opinion on how to do it in a particular moment and in a particular case, but the principle is the principle that is absolutely embedded in the policy, in the priorities of all the members of the European Union as much as in the United States. So I haven't said that at the beginning because I knew, I thought I knew, that it was understood and knew by everybody.
Now about Iraq: I think about Iraq, the European Union has a policy, a common policy. Of course there are variations to this, there are more variations that may be applicable in the future, but at this point today the common policy is not very different from other policies.
Three things I would like to say on the policy: one, the objective; second, the instrument, the methodology; and third, the environment.
One: the objective. The objective has to be to end up with weapons of mass destruction and the possibility of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. No doubt about that – and there should not be any doubt about that.
Methodology: we think that the methodology should be through the United Nations, and we continue to do that as much as the United States is now working at it, in the United Nations. We are altogether working in the United Nations. We may have a small difference, a big difference, it depends how you look at it; we have one resolution, one and a half, two or whatever. But I think that the idea that is such an important issue, like the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which is going to be with us not only because Iraq, but because of many other things, we better have the intelligence to put it from the very beginning where it should be, which is in the broader circle of the United Nations. Because it is not only to fight against disarmament of Iraq, we have a good number of agreements, of mechanisms which are already in the United Nations body which not everybody is compliant with, and that we have to be much more serious on that. Proliferation or non-proliferation should be a must, a priority for everybody. And use all the means: United Nations, bilateral nations, etc. Therefore that is the third, Item first is the objective, weapons of mass destruction. We are not for regime change – that has to be clear - we are not for regime change as a principle. It may be that the end of the process is a change in the regime but our objective is weapons of mass destruction it is not regime change.
Second: methodology. UN. Third: environment. I think that for anybody which is sensible, and looks at Iraq, it has to put Iraq, not isolate it ,not in a vacuum. Iraq is the place where the Tigris and the Euphrates are, it is Babylonia, it is a lot of things, and Iraq is the Middle East and the Middle East we cannot separate the whole process, we have to look at the whole region in whatever decision we take eventually.
And that is the three elements of the procedure, which I think is sensible, and it coincides 90% with the average of the politicians of the United States, and at least with the politicians of the United States which I deal with. We may have a difference about regime change that we are not in principle as an objective regime change, but we are as committed as President Bush on stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We want to do it with the UN and we want to do it taking into consideration the environment, and the environment is the Middle East and we know a little bit about the Middle East. The borders of the European Union are moving closer and closer to the Middle East and therefore we are concerned about that, as I said before that I am concerned. And we should be concerned with the Islamic world to understand it better and to try to see how we can solve some of the problems that emerge from there, from early on and not to wait until the last minute, but early on and that is something which is compatible with the three elements I just said. That is what very precisely and with three elements I think that I answered your question. But I am sorry if I did not say it at the beginning because I thought that you had been talking since 9 o'clock about this.
Question: Sorry, this is a question for Don Javier, as well as for Marc Perrin de Brichambaut. I have memories of the EU wanting to take over command of Task Force Fox in Macedonia and there has not been much talk of this recently and I think that we, all of us in this room, know why that is - there is a Turkish/Greek difference of opinion on NATO/EU co-operation and I would like to know whether both of you expect this to be resolved at or by the Copenhagen Summit, and if not what is going to happen to the EU's plans?
Mr Solana: I think it will be solved before the Copenhagen Summit. I mean it will be solved so that relations between the European Union and NATO and from the provisional relations that we have today that prevents us to do a lot of things, like talking formally military to military, that will be solved before Copenhagen and I hope that will be solved before Prague, that is my hope. And I am working to that a good part of my time because I think it is a very important ingredient. It is not so important because of … Fox, I mean it maybe also, but it is more important because we have to do – answering the biggest question - we have to have mechanisms for working together military to military also, not only politically, politician to politician – the NAC and the COPS meets every month or every three weeks but it cannot happen in the military field and that I think is bad. And since we have the ACAP process, the capability process in the European Union, in the DCI, in NATO, which do have a lot in common, we had better start talking and analysing and doing the review as much as possible together in co-operation. So I hope very much that it will be solved before Prague and before Copenhagen but it has a certain question mark. I have said that a lot of times already and I always fail in my assessment. But I think I can say honestly now something that would not be wrong: that never we have been as close as yesterday.
Moderator: Thank you very much. Needless to say I can only concur.
Question: Mr Solana, I am from Kyrghizstan Mission to NATO. I beg your pardon if I would seem to you being naïve but I am really impressed by your speech and trying to characterise it I should say it is just a flow of very convincing and logically sequenced sort. My question is: You mentioned in your speech that in your words we should understand another world, another part of the world, meaning Moslem world. And my question is what do you mean to understand this world because it is not new, it always was beside us, it is part of the world community and we knew about its problems and everything else. What should we understand, what do you mean by these words?
Mr Solana: I think it is fair to say that we have to take a new look at the evolution of the Arab world, of the Moslem world in general. It is not the same, the Arab world, the Islamic world of the 15th century, and the Arab world, the Moslem World of today. And therefore we have to, in an effort to understand the concerns, the sentiments, the sentiment of being left out, the sentiment of not being taken seriously, etc. etc. which when you talk to the leaders, not only to the leaders, to the civil society, whatever exists in those countries, you really have that very clearly. And I do not think we can be in a world which is secure if we have a number of people that the Islamic world – many of them, not all of them, but many of them, with the feelings they have about the western world. And I think the … has to be, to a certain extent, to try to close that gap. That is not going to be done in 24 hours but I think it should be done and it should at least give the impression that we care. The worst thing we can do is to give the impression that we do not care, and I think on the Middle East we have a responsibility of that also. We do not think we have done all the effort to show that we care, that we all care for the solution of that problem which is so important for many countries, for Israel in the first place, but also for many countries in the Arab World.
But that is what I mean, not anything more profound than that. They come from a country in which we have lived with the Arab world, the Arab people have been in my country more times than we have been in the history, so I know very well that. But when I look at the history of the Arab World in the 15th Century and I look at it today, there is a slight difference but very profound.
Question (Mr Kaminski, Wall Street Journal): You gave a very spirited rebuttal to Don Rumsfeld's phrase that the mission determines the coalition.
Mr Solana: Inaudible.
Mr Kaminski: Well, I think it came from Washington, in any case. As you remember during the Kosovo War when you were at NATO, there was a feeling of tremendous success militarily and let's never do that again, and I wonder how you can imagine, or you do imagine sincerely that leaving aside the question that if the Europeans do improve their capabilities that one by one France and Britain can contribute to a US-led effort anywhere in the world. But do you sincerely believe that as an institution NATO will ever fight a war again or fight a conflict – and especially this is true of both the EU and for NATO, that as both institutions enlarge they will become even more unwieldy to go through them. I mean that seems to be the principle critique coming out of Washington of why NATO was ignored in Afghanistan and why it will probably be ignored in Iraq. And also is there any way you can try and reform these institutions to be able to do what they were created to do, which is NATO, which is to fight wars.
Mr Solana: Well my experience is not that negative. My experience, my personal experience is not that negative and in the few cases in which NATO has been engaged in military operations, it is only one – we do not have an immense amount of experience in our libraries to deny the possibility of NATO to do things in a very constructive manner – we have one. And from that experience I have to tell you that it worked fairly well, to be the first time that an organisation that was thought to do something completely different, it did something aptly and with the capability that it has, with the leadership of the United States normally, and it should be, the SACEUR is not from Luxembourg, he is from the United States and therefore it is normal so that nobody should be uncomfortable for that. Therefore I think that we see this happening, and it worked fairly well being the first time that this was done.
Now let me bring another issue, because I think that it is important and I hope that the British will forgive me if I say that. We deployed, we, can I use the “we” – the British - deployed in Kabul a good element of force, an important contingent of force when nobody wanted to go to Kabul. Let me tell you something, November 2001, the United Nations General Assembly, meetings all over the place between Powell, myself, Ivan, I do not know. Who is going take over Kabul after we finish? Remember that it was at that time during the month of November when Mazar-e- Sharif started to collapse, remember that, it was during the General Assembly that it happened that, I will never forget – I was at the Dinner of the G7 when Colin Powell told us that the three centuries are becoming together and it was a very good description. He was telling us that the big planes were, instead of dropping bombs were also dropping saddles for the horses, and at the same time you had people on the ground, at the same time you had laser guides bombs, three different centuries together, and when the three centuries began to work together in one, the three centuries began to work together, it was the beginning, with Mazar-e-Sharif is beginning to fall and whoom.
At that time we started to think, well what happens the day after, which is a good question. And that was at the Dinner of the G7. And well, we have to look a manner to a follow-up. And everybody, the politically correct thing to say was – it has to be Arab worlds – it has to be countries that belong to the Arab world. Well, we started with Islamic, so we started to look for that and then at the end of the month the Arab countries, the Islamic countries that were deployed were the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc. etc. because there were no others able to face a mission of that nature. And it was done very properly, in a very short period of time, in a very short period of time, with a headquarters, well one European country that was able to be multi-nationalised in a very short period of time, and the first contingent was deployed in a very short period of time. So do not under-value also the capabilities of some European countries or the European countries – there are 16 countries in the European Union and thirteen countries were deployed. So it is not so to undervalue that as nothing – it is something.
Now if I were to ask the Commander in Chief of that operation from the UK, if he would have preferred a conference of contributors, for instance, to be done through the integrated structure of NATO. I wonder what would be the answer, but I have the impression they would have said yes – I would have preferred to use an integrated command structure with experience on the capability conference and conference of donors and all these things. So it is a lot of things that can be done with the NATO structure if it is used properly and to the fullest. If you do not want to use it to the fullest, of course you have to do other things, but we cannot just say that NATO is useless because we do not have 90% of the bombs of every country that is laser-guided. It is a lot of things that can be done, it can be done right and can be done well, and I think that we have to use that because everything will be needed, everything will be needed in the battle we have in front of us, and we had better use it.
Moderator: Thank you very
much, I think the time has come to thank Javier Solana, which
has given us a European contribution because this was about
Prague and you have given us the whole picture. Thank you very
much indeed, and the time has also come for Lord Robertson to
provide us with the concluding remarks for the Seminar.