Updated: 17-Apr-2003 NATO Speeches


16 Apr. 2003


Press Briefing

by NATO Spokesman, Yves Brodeur

Nice to see you again. Thank you all... the brave among you who actually took the time to come over here. I know that there are lots of other things happening in other places. But I do appreciate you being here today.
I will slightly change the rules of the game, at least for two issues, which I want to talk about on the record.

The first one is the conclusion of Operation Display Deterrence and the conclusion as well of the consultations under Article 4, which were initiated a little while ago following a perceived threat against Turkey.

And the second issue is, of course, the issue of ISAF and the decision which was made this morning by Council.

So let me just start first with Display Deterrence. I have the text of a press release, which we issued this morning in French and English, which I'll just leave here on the table.

To make it simple, what has been decided this morning was actually to conclude the Operation Display Deterrence, on the basis of advice received by NATO military experts, as well as on the basis of the assessment of Turkish authorities. So what is essentially is the perception of the threat or the assessment of the threat now is that it is very low and therefore we could contemplate the conclusion of that operation, which has been very successful. The decision was agreed by Council.

And then the Council, after the DPC this morning, made a decision also to conclude, the consultations under Article 4, which had been officially invoked at the request of Turkey a few weeks ago.
So all that to say therefore that the mission has now been successfully completed and that military experts will start preparing for the redeployment of NATO's defensive asset outside of Turkey, meaning that they will have to plan for that and make it happen gradually.

We can't, of course, get all of our resources out of the country at once. So this will happen over time, but we expect that it will be starting pretty shortly. So that's for Display Deterrence. As I said, there is a statement which is available here on the table in French and English.

The second decision has to do with ISAF and, here, the decision we have is that at the request of three countries, Germany, The Netherlands and Canada, who are all leading ISAF nations, the Alliance this morning decided to enhance its support to ISAF.

We already play a significant role in support of the existing ISAF Force, and essentially what this decision will do is that it will substantially increase...enhance that support. And we see this as a logical continuation of the process of support that we've been engaged in for a while.

Neither ISAF, the name ISAF or the mission will change. What is going to change though is the means by which the international community meets its commitment to ensure greater stability in Afghanistan. So it remains ISAF, it will continue to be called ISAF and the mandate is not changing.

What we will provide, in terms of additional support, is as follows. We will deploy what we call a composite headquarters in theatre, the core of which will be provided from within AFNORTH which will be supplemented as necessary by personnel from within NATO, as well as from contributing nations. And this will include communications and logistic supports.

Secondly, the commander will be chosen by SACEUR and that commander will be selected from contributing Allied nations. So SACEUR will actually make that decision.

Thirdly, strategic co-ordination, command and control will be exercised by NATO through SHAPE. So SHAPE is going to actually control, plan and command this operation, ISAF. This will be done through a cell which is going to be created specifically for that purpose.

Direction and co-ordination responsibilities which are currently undertaken by ISAF lead nations will be undertaken by the NAC in close consultation with non-NATO, ISAF contributors. There are, as you know, non-NATO contributing nations to ISAF. And then, if it is deemed necessary, a meeting of the NAC plus contributors can be arranged, but we'll see over time.

ISAF will continue to work within the UN mandate and will operate according to the current and future UN resolutions. The Secretary General has been in touch with the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, earlier this week, and this is done therefore with his full knowledge.

What we think it's going to achieve is that the enhanced NATO role will help overcoming the growing problem of a continual search, every six months, to find new nations to lead the mission. So the keyword here is continuity.
Right now this process actually puts a considerable strain on the lead nations, but it also means that every six months a new headquarters has to actually get to grips with a fairly complex situation. We believe that a continuing headquarters will add stability, increase continuity and enable the smaller nations who find it difficult to act as the nations to play a strong role within that multinational headquarters. The whole idea is to actually facilitate this mission and provide reinforcement so as to actually establish continuity throughout time.

The Afghan authorities and neighbouring countries have already indicated a willingness to see a greater NATO involvement, so there is no resistance to that. NATO nations already provide the bulk of ISAF troups so NATO HQ makes great logical sense. It's a logical development.

Now, ISAF will continue to actively welcome non-NATO contributions and will organize itself to ensure that they play a full role, that their voice is heard. The point on which I want to conclude before answering questions is that the enhanced NATO presence will operate under ISAF banner, what it means is that it's the same as for KFOR and SFOR; the badges for these two operations that soldiers wear on their sleeves actually are distinct to each mission and they do not use the NATO symbol. It's going to be the same thing for ISAF.

And of course the decision this morning to increase our involvement demonstrates that NATO nations are committed to the stability and security of Afghanistan and of the Afghan people. It's a significant decision.

We are looking probably at putting this in place in time to actually succeed the Joint Dutch-German Command, which is now active, so we're looking probably at the end of the summer. I don't have a more specific date at this point. It will have to be worked out.

What it means as well is that NATO planners have now been asked to provide what we call a CONOPS. For those who are not familiar with NATO jargon, it's a Concept of Operation, on the basis of which an operational plan will then be further developed for consideration by the NAC and the deployment of ISAF 4. So that I think summs it up.

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