Updated: 13-Feb-2003 NATO Speeches

Following the meeting
of the North
Atlantic Council

12 Feb 2003

Audio file (MP3/2.190kb)

Press Conference

by NATO Spokesman, Yves Brodeur

Good evening. And thank you for being so patient. I hope that I won't disappoint you.

The Council met, the meeting ended at 20:45. So far, we haven't been able to conclude our discussions as we had hoped today.

The countries which were not in a position to go along with the new proposal this morning are not at this point in a position to do so tonight. So there is no change in the position of the countries which could not agree to the new proposal put on the table by the Secretary General of NATO this morning.

Therefore, we expect to continue our discussions tomorrow, at a time to be decided, meaning that it is likely that there will be another meeting tomorrow, probably tomorrow morning, but we haven't yet agreed on the time.

I wish to stress though that one thing is clear, again, is that the issue here is not whether, it is when. That hasn't changed. It is still a timing issue.

I'll take questions. Please.

Questions and Answers

Q: Is the Secretary General going to work out a new compromise or will he stick to the present proposal?

Yves Brodeur: Right now, we're not considering putting on the table a new proposal. So we will still work on the basis of the proposal tabled this morning.

Q: Yves, est-ce que tu peux confirmer des informations qui disent que les trois pays ont dit très clairement qu'ils ne pourraient pas décider quoi que ce soit avant une décision ou au moins un réunion du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU.

Yves Brodeur: Ce qui a été dit est simplement que à ce moment-ci les trois pays en question ne sont pas en mesure de se rallier à une décision commune, donc de joindre un consensus, en exprimant clairement encore une fois que selon les délégations de ces pays ou selon les gouvernements de ces pays plutôt, le temps n'est pas encore venu pour l'OTAN de prendre cette décision.

Q: Yves, the new proposals, as they were outlined to us by various NATO officials, involved sending the AWACS planes, the Patriot missile batteries, along with chemical and biological warfare units to Turkey. But stripping out the troop elements associated with the Balkans and U.S. bases in Europe, how do you think that is going to make this proposal more appealing to France, Germany and Belgium?

Yves Brodeur: As I said, the issue -- and that was made clear again tonight -- the issue is not substance, it's a question of timing.

The three delegations who have difficulties with the proposal are all saying that they haven't changed their minds, their stance on this. They still feel that the time is not right for NATO to make that decision as we speak.

Q: But if the question is timing, what makes you think you can solve this problem tomorrow then?

Yves Brodeur: I didn't say that we can solve the problem tomorrow, the only thing I said is that we will continue our discussions tomorrow in the hope that we can arrive at a decision.

Q: Yves, vis-à-vis le timing, quelle est la différence entre une approbation jeudi d'un point de vue technique ou une approbation, le cas échéant samedi, dimanche ou lundi? D'un point de vue technique, pour le déploiement du Patriote, pour l'utilisation des AWACS, qu'est-ce que disent les experts sur ça?

Yves Brodeur: Bien, je pense que tout ce qu'on peut dire à ce moment-ci -- puisque les experts n'ont pas été mandatés pour mener à bien leur travail d'analyse, de planification -- c'est que évidemment le plus tôt serait probablement le mieux. Donc, je ne suis pas en mesure de me prononcer pour vous dire si effectivement de retarder une décision à demain ou après demain ou en fin de semaine va changer quelque chose ou va être déterminant sur le plan du déploi... de la mise en oeuvre en tous cas des mesures. Pour l'instant, c'est impossible de le savoir. Mais encore une fois, le plus tôt serait évidemment le mieux.

À l'arrière s'il vous plaît.

Q: Why did Secretary General Robertson decide to call the meeting tonight?

Yves Brodeur: Secretary General Robertson decided to call the meeting tonight because he felt, again, that we had a proposal on the table which could form the basis for a consensus, to a consensus. Throughout the day, there were consultations, again, between capitals, hoping that we could tonight achieve a positive outcome.

We haven't been able to conclude and therefore, we will continue as I said. But again, the meeting was called because it was hoped that delegations' governments had had enough time to consult and to arrive at a decision in time for the meeting tonight.

I'll take one last question please. Madame.

Q: So the strategy right now, that is the problem of the timing, would be to make a meeting every day until those three say yes?

Yves Brodeur: Strategy is to keep working essentially and to continue our discussion. Consultations will go on. And we'll see if we can, we hope that we can actually arrive at a situation where we can conclude this discussion as soon as possible.

Thank you very much. Merci.

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