Updated: 02-Dec-2004 NATO Speeches


1 Dec. 2004

Press Briefing

by Ambassador Günther Altenburg, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy Division on the forthcoming Foreign Ministers meeting on 8 and 9 December

MODERATOR: So as you already know, we have Ambassador Altenburg, Günther Altenburg. He's Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy Division. He is going to review on the forthcoming Foreign Ministers Meeting which is going to take place on the evening of the 8th and the 9th of December. He's going to give you a statement and then we will ask your questions.

We only have 25 minutes, more or less so... 30. So you have the floor Ambassador.

AMBASSADOR DR. GÜNTHER ALTENBURG (Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, NATO): Thank you very much. Well, indeed, I think you know already that next week will be the first NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting following the NATO Istanbul Summit, in June of this year, and the ministers will, of course, review the implementation of the Istanbul decisions. They'll also give guidance on the operations and they will most probably discuss recent political developments. And there will, of course, be a meeting with our partners, and I think I would like now to run you a little bit through one, the program, and the issues we think... we expect to come up.

So as it has been said already, we'll start on the 8th in the evening with a working dinner. This is the first ever meeting of NATO foreign ministers meeting with their colleagues from the Southern Mediterranean Dialogue partners from North Africa and the Middle East. I think this is a remarkable opportunity that will be an excellent opportunity. One, of course, to celebrate the Dialogue's tenth anniversary. Second, to review its successes today and to discuss, and I think that's the most important thing about all of this, the implementation of a more ambitious and expanded framework for the Dialogue as it was agreed at the Istanbul Summit.

So I think this is the first thing we do. You are aware that in Istanbul it was decided to make the Dialogue more operational and also we launched that other initiative, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, to cover the broader Middle East.

I think the message that goes out here is that the Alliance wants to play its part in engaging the countries across the Mediterranean and the broader Middle East, and I think next week we will review the progress that has been made in that regard.
On Thursday morning we'll start with the meeting of the NATO foreign ministers.

There will first be an opportunity to review recent political developments. I suspect that of course Ukraine will be high on the agenda, but there, of course, as you know, and you are following these events well, the situation remains very fluid.

NATO foreign ministers will, of course, have to discuss Afghanistan, which remains the number one priority. Alliance has already made a major contribution to enhancing security in the country on the occasion of the last presidential elections. But we realize that there are still a lot of problems: narcotics, warlordism, insurgents and so on and so forth.

So next week the ministers will discuss in particular what we can do, and in particular I think they will have to look into the possibility of expansion of the NATO-led operation, ISAF, into the west of Afghanistan and the support we can lend for the parliamentary elections in spring of 2005.

Later that morning we'll meet in... yes sir.

UNIDENTIFIED:: (inaudible)...

ALTENBURG: We'll have a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council and that meeting will welcome Russia's support to the NATO operation Active Endeavour; that is the maritime counterterrorism operation in the Mediterranean, and will approve the first NRC Action Plan on Terrorism. And in addition to that there will be a discussion, of course, of other issues of political interest; Afghanistan I suppose, Iraq, and certainly Ukraine.

Over lunch the NATO... I come back to the NATO ministers, the NATO ministers will have a luncheon and over lunch they will discuss Iraq and the Balkans. As for Iraq, of course, now as you know we have reached agreement on the op plan, on the operational plan for the NATO's training mission and the allies will want to maximize the contribution of training efforts ahead of the Iraqi election early next year.

In view of the challenging year ahead, in particular for Kosovo, the Alliance's role there is important and the ministers will want to exchange views on NATO's strategy with regard to the 2005 Standards Review, which is, as you know, linked to the question of the status of that province.

After lunch there will be a meeting with our 20 EAPC partners. That is the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council partners, with mainly two principal items for discussion. One, in Istanbul it was agreed that NATO's partnership policy should focus more on the Caucasus and Central Asia and that reorientation will be the first topic of the discussion with the partners next week.

Of course, there are expectations and aspirations of both sides, and that needs to be discussed.

A further subject for discussion will be the Balkans, sure enough. Our partners have been instrumental to NATO success in that region and we want to discuss with them how we can continue to work together to encourage progress in that region.
Finally, I think we'll have to make up our mind whether we're going to have a NATO-Ukraine Commission. As you know, the situation is fluid and we are pending on the situation... on the development in that country. The point I would make here is that we have a pretty busy schedule of meetings, and it demonstrates the continuing critical role the Alliance as a form of transatlantic political dialogue and military cooperation is going to play.

I'll leave it at that, and ready to take questions. Thank you.

Q: Two questions. You said the ministers will talk about Afghanistan expanding to the west. Could you tell us where we stand now in the generational forces for this expansion? And second question, if you could tell us what will be Russia's contribution to Operation Endeavour?

ALTENBURG: With respect to your first question I think the point is we want to expand to the west, and what we are discussing is right now, and we've been discussing this also this morning, is a setting up of new PRTs under ISAF in the west and there are a couple of allies who want to set up PRTs in the west, in Herat, and the U.S. has... I think that is in the public domain, already announced that they would be ready to put their two PRTs under the ISAF command. So we are working on that.
And that is progressing quite nicely. Of course, I mean all these operations require additional forces and we need to see how all this... how we cover these requirements and how we make sure that the rotation takes place and so on and so forth.
So I think we are well on track and...

Q: Can we expect announcements next week, I mean, as to these new PRTs?

ALTENBURG: What's the right answer? Inshallah, I think.

Q: Inshallah. Could be.


ALTENBURG: Yeah, well, we do hope that by next week we'll be in a position to say more. And more concretely.

Q: And Russia?

ALTENBURG: Ah, Russia. Russia has already sent, if I'm correctly informed, two ships who are in that operation already present, and what we are now doing on... we have finalized an exchange of letters, which will formalize and put the contribution of Russia to that operation into the chain of command and establish formally the command structure and the liaison arrangements which we have with them. It's more or less like... it's more or less on the model of what we've had in the Balkans.
Yes sir.

Q: Concerning the Mediterranean Dialogue, ten years, as well as the Article 4 of NATO, as well as the broader discussion at the Middle East, how do you influence the talks between Palestine and Israel?

ALTENBURG: In the discussions, both for the implementation of the Istanbul Decision on the... as it were... let me see, what was the right word? Ambitious and more expanded framework for the Dialogue, as well as for the Istanbul Initiative, we said that the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict is of crucial importance. But, but NATO is not in the business of mediating and so I think this is an appeal to all those who are working, for instance, in the quartet and so on, to deploy their best efforts.

MODERATOR: To your right there.

Q: (inaudible)... NTV Moscow. Russian Chief of Staff when being here, and visiting SHAPE discussed with SACEUR the possibility of supplying Russian weapons to Iraqi army and even possible training of Russian... for Iraqi military outside of Iraq.
Was it discussed in this house, and do you plan to discuss it with the foreign ministers?

ALTENBURG: Well, since quite some time I think the point was made that indeed the Iraqi army is... has a lot of, I would say, Soviet or Russia or whatever-made armaments, and that indeed there is the question whether one continues that cooperation and what sort of cooperation would be useful in that respect, and... But as far as I'm informed we did not yet reach any agreement. What we... there are two things. One is, of course, the supply of armaments, and the other thing is the training of the military forces with this equipment.

So, the question that came up was also whether we would have... like to have Russian trainers in that respect. But as far as I know no decision has yet been taken. We're still in the process of discussing this.

Q: But you will discuss it (inaudible)...?

ALTENBURG: I'm... I doubt that the foreign ministers will discuss this with us. I think that goes down the chain of command of the defence ministry and that's why Baluyevsky discussed it when he was there. And rightly so. (Laughs)
Yes, please.

Q: Mia Dorna(?), (inaudible)... Can you say something more about the NATO-Ukraine Committee, how it could work? Which delegation from Kiev would be welcome?

ALTENBURG: Well, I mean... we discuss Ukraine with practically everybody. I mean, so why wouldn't we discuss it with the Ukrainians, but at this point in time it's difficult to say who is in charge. I mean, you've probably seen that today the Parliament voted a motion of non-confidence for the government, and I'm not so sure that they... that we know what the government is. So we'll have to wait and see a little bit how things unfold.

Q: (inaudible)...World Services. A follow-up to that. Will your discussions on Ukraine... what will they be informed by? Are you getting any reports, any assessments of the possible threat of the split of Ukraine, or will it just be a general political discussion?

ALTENBURG: Well, I think the first thing is that we need to know whether we'll have a meeting, and with whom, and then we'll make up our mind where we take it. You have probably been following the statements by Secretary General on the development of the... of the elections, and what we're now pending on the developments there to see where they come out. I mean, whether they have a government, who is in charge and such. So I think we're a little bit in the air at this point.

Q: Ambassador, Paul Ames from Associated Press. Could you give us some more details about what's in the anti-terrorism action plan, which you're planning to agree with Russia. And also regarding Kosovo, when you talk about challenging year ahead, what sort of measures is NATO envisaging to contain those potential challenges there?

ALTENBURG: What's the last thing?

Q: On Kosovo, you talked about a challenging year ahead. I wondered what sort of measures NATO is considering for KFOR to handle those challenges.

ALTENBURG: Yeah, thank you. With respect to terrorism, of course, let me remind you that after 9/11 President Putin was the first one to call on President Bush and to offer cooperation in that field. And we have been working and negotiating with the Russian side to come to grips with what exactly we're going to do, what sort of information we are going to exchange, what sort of things we need to do, in particular in some areas like civil emergency and we're setting up exercises and trying to do the utmost so that we come to something like an interoperable... an interoperable set of forces which an help in terms of if there s a civil disaster. If there is a CBI incident or something like.

With respect to Kosovo, the political calendar prescribes that as of mid of next year we'll have to discuss the question of the status of that, profits. And as you are aware the approach the international community has been taking with respect to that is one on the basis of the Security Council resolution. One second on... in terms of development in that respect to say standards before status, and so what we need to see is development in that respect. That is to say, see that the development... that the standards in particular, the protection for the Serb minority are respected. Which is, as you recall, not so easy. We've had the violences in March and after these violences which I think this is not a secret, I can say this...?

MODERATOR: What are you going to say? What are you going to say?

ALTENBURG: You were surprised. It took us a little bit by surprise and yeah, and we had a... we had a difficulty in coping with that. Most of the contingents that were there had a... had national caveats in dealing with riot control and that sort of thing. In the meantime, we have come to lower and streamline these caveats and I think we're in better shape with respect to that. And we've also gone through the periodic mission review, which also streamlines and makes the mission more effective.
But indeed I think we're before a lot of challenges. As you probably have heard, the Kosovars are thinking about nominating Mr. Haradinaj, who is threatened by an indictment by the ICTY. So there are interesting times ahead.

Q: (inaudible)...follow-up. Is one of the things you're considering a reinforcement of KFOR during the middle period of next year.

ALTENBURG: Well, I think if we have the forces, which we now have in place and do not draw down and with the caveats out of our way, I think the mission will be in pretty good shape to cope with the problems.

Q: (inaudible)...

Q: I'm sorry, I have a question on Ukraine. Do you plan to discuss Ukraine on NATO-Russia Council, and do you have a message to send to Russians from NATO?

ALTENBURG: We have indeed... as I said, we'll discuss Ukraine probably with the Russians, and I think some of the allies will have to say something to the Russian colleagues or to Foreign Minister Lavrov on that subject. But as I said, we're, of course, pending on the development of the situation there.
We'll discuss it in the North Atlantic Council. We'll discuss it probably with the Russians, and the open question is...

MODERATOR:: (inaudible)...


MODERATOR:: (inaudible)...

ALTENBURG: In the APC probably as well, and then we'll have to see what's the outcome of the present situation in Kiev and see whether we have counterparts to talk to.

Q: I have a follow-up to your previous (inaudible)...?

ALTENBURG: Which one?

Q: On Kosovo.


Q: Have the intelligence arrangements of NATO now been improved so that the forces are no longer surprised by, as you said, they were?

ALTENBURG: Well, I mean, some of the things happened there by mobile phone, as you are aware, and there are a lot of people, jobless people hanging around in the streets without any useful occupation, but with a cell phone and waiting for a call. I mean, we need to be sort of ahead of the crowd. Know what are the political developments coming. If there is an indictment against Haradinaj or if there is any other trouble coming up I think we need sufficient intelligence and we need sufficient information ahead of what's going on in order for the commanders to get their troops ready.

Q: Can we get this(?)?

ALTENBURG: We hope. Yes. Not always, but we do hope it happens.

Q: Follow-up on that. Are you expecting violence really in Kosovo in the mid of next year, you believe that the status talk would be followed with tensions? Are you saying that just to avoid any surprise this time?

ALTENBURG: This is a politically volatile situation. And the expectations of the Kosovars, as they have said during their elections, these last elections, is that their elections were a kind of a step forward to their independence. That is, their perception of the thing. There are other players in the international community which look at things differently. And so that needs to be a negotiated process. And therefore I think you want to be prepared, let's say from a security point of view so that you are not exposed to surprises, but on the other hand what you need to have is a political process with respect to the future development of the status of that province. Which is not taking place in the vacuum. I mean, a lot of developments taking place in that region as you are aware.

Q: On Mr. Haradinaj, didn't you get the... from Mr. Patterson(?), statements that if he is going to be indicted he will surrender voluntary and there will be no violence, or it will be, as Mr. Patterson said, that it will be the best example of compliance with ICTY? I suppose that you are in permanent contact with chief of UNMIK?

ALTENBURG: Well, I mean, it's better to be prepared and take precautionary steps than to be surprised, so I think... I do not deny what you say. This is all right, we're in constant contact with him. He has been briefing the... what was it, the EATC(?).


ALTENBURG: Two weeks ago, what, two or three weeks ago. So... and we are in constant contact with him. This is not the problem. But sure enough some of these developments just spark like that and then you need to be prepared.

Q: Ambassador, do you expect the... the Secretary General, as well as the United States, that... regarding Iraq, that Germany and France and other countries will refuse that NATO officers, their NATO officers, participate in the mission in Iraq. Is that a done deal and there's no room for maneuver, or will the Secretary General... do you expect him to make a push again on this during the ministerial?

ALTENBURG: I don't expect him to do that. I mean...


Q: (inaudible)... still up for discussion?

ALTENBURG: You know what the German position is, you know what the French position is, you know what the position of all the others in that respect is. I don't think it's worthwhile losing time on, trying that again. And while we're talking on it, I mean, these people are not going idle. What did they do? They didn't block the decision on the mission, one. They do, most of them, the Germans, the French, Spain, Luxembourg and so on, they are doing training of police forces and military forces and border guards in the vicinity. I men, they're doing it in Kuwait in the United Arab Emirates, in Jordan and so on and so forth. So they're putting in their share and actually contributing to the mission of training and formation.

And they are also inviting them to their national institutions. What is it, in Germany it's Führungsakademie or whatever. I mean, the Bundeswehr has a couple of institutions. So have the French and Spaniards.

MODERATOR: Yeah, Mark.

Q: Mark John from Reuters. Will there be a statement on Bosnia's chances of joining the Partnership for Peace at any time. Or the likely of it not joining?

ALTENBURG: Well, we are discussing the situation in the Western Balkans, and what is high on our agenda with respect to Bosnia-Herzegovina is of course, one is the transition from SFOR to EUFOR, what was Althea.

MODERATOR: (inaudible)...Althea.

ALTENBURG: And NATO will, of course, continue its... how... tailored program of cooperation with Bosnia. That is... that's... But... But, with respect to full PFP the message is that they have to cooperate with the ICTY and they know that there's one symbolical name for them, and that is Karadzic.

Q: I ask the question because the High Representative in Bosnia gave us to understand that he would take actions based on the signal coming from this ministerial meeting from NATO on the extent of that cooperation or not. So, you know, the question is, in what form would that signal come? Would it be a formal statement? Or not?

ALTENBURG: The usual thing is, and unfortunately I have to preside over that, I have to negotiate a communiqué. And in that communiqué there will be... that will be the message.

Q: There'll be a communiqué in Bosnia.

ALTENBURG: Yeah, of course. Not on Bosnia. It will be on the meeting. And it will be one of the subjects, I suppose the ministers will discuss will be the handover, will be the future of Bosnia and so on and so forth. So that will be part of the communiqué.

Q: Nick Fiorenza, Defence News. Were you expecting to represent the United States and do you think there will be any... are you expecting any kind of new message?

ALTENBURG: Sorry, I didn't get the first part of your question.

Q: Who will be representing the United States at the meeting, at the Foreign Ministers Meeting?


MODERATOR: Powell, yeah.

Q: And so...

ALTENBURG: I haven't heard anything to the contrary.

Q: It'll be... it'll be kind of a lame duck foreign minister who...

ALTENBURG: That's what you say. I mean...

Q: (inaudible)...say.

ALTENBURG: Well that's the usual thing when you have a transition. And we'll have to see. Right? Yes sir.

Q: (inaudible)... Yesterday night there was an attempt of assault on Serbian president Boris Tadic and scenario was very like assassinator of Prime Minister Djindjic one year and a half ago. Do you see any kind of potentially dangerous situation, destabilization, caused in Serbia, something like that, because there is a lot of things last time, even government is very volatile and when Tadic tried to convince the government to cooperate with Hague tribunal it was just opposites statement and position. Thank you.

ALTENBURG: Well, I think with respect to this attempt I'm... I have heard about it. I'm not sure I know all the details about it, so I would refrain from commenting on this. The situation in Serbia is indeed volatile, as you say, and we are following that with a lot of attention, but actually I think it's up to them to come to grips with their political situation. Not much... I mean, you cannot expect NATO to tell them which way they have to take their business, right?

Q: You see that the situation is really moving in destabilization or something that could be some kind of not regular.

ALTENBURG: Well, what am I supposed to say here? I mean, you know where the thinking... you know the ideas people are having in Montenegro and they are heading probably for a referendum. The situation in Serbia is volatile. All of this will, of course, have repercussions on the further development of the region. And of course, we are following that with a lot of attention and we're trying to be helpful, but of course there is a fine line. I mean, we need to be careful to be perceived as being helpful and not to get involved into internal affairs.

MODERATOR: Christian.


Q: (inaudible)... Could you remind us on Afghanistan how many PRTs and where you want to place them in the northwest, and just... I just... it's too long ago that we discussed that one. And secondly do you have already an indication when the... when President Bush will come to Brussels in early February?

ALTENBURG: Let me take the last one first. I don't know. That's still in the rumour mill. So I can't comment on that. With respect to the PRTs, you know, that we have started in the north and the east. And...

MODERATOR: Where there are five.


MODERATOR: Where we have five.

ALTENBURG: Where we have five, right? And now we are moving to the west and the idea is to have something like what five or six...

MODERATOR: Uh-huh, uh-huh... five, six.

Q: Additional (inaudible)...

MODERATOR: Additional, yeah yeah, in the west. Additional to the ones in the northeast.

Q: Including the two American PRTs.

MODERATOR: Yeah, which (inaudible)...


ALTENBURG: There are two American PRTs, which as I said, will come under ISAF and we want to see others taking over responsibility for them, or set up new PRTs.


Q: Just... Latvian Television, (inaudible)... Just to follow up on this, I heard that also there is a sort of idea that the Baltics... the three Baltic countries could guide or lead one PRT, if you can confirm or at least give a denial.
And then the second thing, am I right by understanding... oh sorry.

ALTENBURG: Oh, don't comment, don't say (inaudible)...

Q: And am I right by understanding that this is going to be just a discussion on the Ukraine. There is no even a statement or paper as a NATO, NAC communiqué or something. I understand that it could be difficult to get common document out of NATO-Russia Council or if there will be this meeting with Ukrainian delegation. But then the general one, at least, that is probably (inaudible)...agenda so you need to make a statement, and I don't feel that there will be one.

ALTENBURG: (inaudible)... You're invited to help us on that one. Now, the with respect to the ideas of the Baltic states to set up their own PRT, I think we will want to see them to come up, to step forward and say, okay, we made up our mind and we're going to do this. At this point I'm not in a position to comment on that. We're still discussing with a couple of allies their intentions and some of them are further advanced than others, and so things are moving, but we're not yet there. We're not yet there.

With respect to Ukraine, well, I think at this point it is frankly speaking too early to say what we're going to say. It is... we're still... what a week and a day away from the ministerial and we want to see what the outcome of, for instance, one, the vote that took place in the Russia Verrada(?) today, and the Supreme Court, and we will have to see. And I mean, I don't think that there'll be... we'll have to say something, obviously, and we'll do something, we'll say something, but I'm not in a position to give you any clue which way that will go.

MODERATOR: (inaudible)...

Q: Martina (inaudible)... El País.Pais. Mr. Ambassador, these meetings... next week's meeting will be the first one after the Bush re-election before the relationship between both sides of the Atlantic were a little bit bumpy. Has the re-election introduced some changes in the mood in the discussions, in the feelings of the allies?

ALTENBURG: Whoa, good question. I don't know. I mean we'll have to see what the discussions will be like. I think, if I'm following what political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have been saying over the last... the period after the election, everybody's trying to make things work more smoothly in the future, to expand the area of commonality and work constructively together. And I think that's the message.

MODERATOR: Griselda?

Q: Griselda Pastor, Radio Espanola. Pour revenir sur l'Ukraine. Même s'il manque encore une semaine avant la réunion des ministres des Affaires Extérieures, est. Est-ce que vous attendez à un engagement quelconque de la Russie sur la le menace ou le risque d'une scission territoriale de l'Ukraine... d'une division du pays?

ALTENBURG: Bon là vous savez que vous avez suivi les discussions qui ont eu lieux à Kiev. Alors il y a des représentants russes aussi là à la table ronde et ça continue. Et c'est clair que nous attendons que tout le monde joue un rôle... comment dirais-je... constructif dans ce processus. C'est tout ce que je peux dire en ce moment. Si je suis bien informé cela... et sur place il y a des représentants russes qui sont sur place. Tout le monde parle avec tout le monde.

Donc espérons qu'il y ait des résultats constructifs, non. L'important je crois... l'important dans tout cela c'est je crois, c'est... nous l'avons dit le secrétaire général l'a dit, tout le monde l'a dit c'est la "territorial integrity" de l'Ukraine et la sauvegarde du processus démocratique dans ce pays.

Q: Coming back to Afghanistan, do you have any kind of target date, or indicative date as to when you expect the expansion of ISAF into the western region?

ALTENBURG: ASAP. (Laughs) I mean, we... as I said, we're in the middle of the discussions with the allies and in particular with those who are have... have signalled their readiness to come forward. Some of them are pretty far in their preparations. They have already sent fact-finding missions and so on. Others are about to do that. So I suppose that by spring of next year we'll see that... we'll have a couple of further PRTs in particular in the West.

Q: Une question de... ménagère, si je peux dire, sur le Dialogue méditerranéenMéditerranéen donc c'est un "working dinner". Y auraAura-t-il un communiqué dans la soirée, une conférence de presse...


MODÉRATRICE: Il y a une conférence de presse de secrétaire général, après... (inaudible)...

ALTENBURG: Conférence de presse, oui.

Q: Après le dîner.

MODÉRATRICE: ...vers 09h30 on ne sait jamais à quelle heure. En principe ça devrait vers les 09h30.

Q: Mais du secrétaire général seul?

MODÉRATRICE: En principe, oui.

Q: Oui d'accord, okay.

ALTENBURG: Personne n'empêche les autres à prendre le microphone, non?

MODÉRATRICE: Non, je ne crois pas que le secrétaire général...

Q: Non non, d'accord. Et... là sur le fond par contre, est. Est-ce que vous pouvez nous donnerdonnez quelques exemples concrets de la coopération que l'OTANle temps envisage avec ces pays là?

. Et spécifiquement s'il s'agirait de coopération bilatérale dans le cadre du Dialoguedialogue méditerranéen ou une coopération réellement collective avec les sept pays sur une opération... je ne sais pas par exemple, Active Endeavour ou quelque chose...?

ALTENBURG: Bon. Tout d'abord ce que nous avons fait ces derniers mois ce sont des réunions avec ces pays dans un cadre 26 plus 1 oùou nous avions des délégations de chacun de ces pays, de tous les sept pays qui sont venus et on a discuté avec eux les possibilités de... "more ambitious and expanded framework"... c'est-à-Ça dire, d'être plus ambitieux...

Et ce qui... enfin... de quoi parlons nous? Nous parlons de faire... d'utiliser les instruments du Partenariatpartenariat pour la paix avec ses partenaires. Mais pour qu'on puisse faire ça, évidemment il faudra que d'abord on ait un accord de sécurité avec eux... patati-patata... pour par exemple coopérer avec eux dans les manœuvres militaires pour qu'ils puissent participer dans Active Endeavour etc.

Donc il y a encore quelques pas à franchir. Mais de l'autre côté évidemment ils sont intéressés dans la formation. On leur offre la participation dans des cours au NATO DefenseDefence College, à l'École de l'OTAN à Oberammergau etc. Donc et évidemment aussi dans les institutions militaires nationales.

Donc en ce moment nous sommes comment dirai-je dans une phase de "pregnancy". (Rires) C'est-à-dire, on pond l'oeuf, quoi, il y a......

MODERATOR: Don't quote him.

ALTENBURG: Il y a un moment oùou nous sommes dans l'attente de la réponse des partenaires méditerranéens après les consultations... après le premier tour qu'on a eu avec eux et ils doivent se décider qu'est-ce qu'ils veulent de faire avec nous. On leur a offert une espèce de menu et ils doivent, n'est-ce pas, nous dire en quoi ils sont intéressés.

Q: One more time, MartinMartina (inaudible)... El País.Pais. Again, dealing with the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Secretary General was there just one week ago, I think, more or less.

ALTENBURG: (inaudible)...

Q: He met with... there, I mean, in Algeria. He met with all the right people and he asked publicly about their cooperation in the fight against terrorism. We didn't get any news that he got the answer he was looking for. Do you have any news about that? I mean, are there people from Algiers ready to prepare or to discuss cooperation with the Alliance in the fight against terrorism?

ALTENBURG: I think the fight against terrorism is one of the points of the cooperation, and there are a lot of other things like WMD, weapons of mass destruction, proliferation, but terrorism is certainly one of the points. And I think the Algerians like, by the way, the Moroccans or Tunisians or so, they are all interested in cooperating with us on this. After the experience they have gone through I think this is very understandable.

MODERATOR: Juan Carlos. And then you.

Q: Juan Carlos (inaudible)... El Mundo. On Iraq, can we speak to next week, the minister have a discussion on the calendar... yes, calendar, election in Iraq, and is NATO worried about the possibility that the general election can be postponed?

MODERATOR: If the elections can be postponed, if there is going to be (inaudible)...

ALTENBURG: Well, I mean, postponement of the election is not the decision by NATO, right? I mean, that is something where the Iraqis have to make up their mind which way they want to take that. And our intention is to set up the mission as our training mission as soon as possible and help them... help the Iraqi government in the formation and training of their security forces so that they have... that they can take their own security into their own hands. And that as soon as possible. So I think both things do not necessarily coincide. I mean, we want to be... we want to make an effort in getting our mission done, running, as soon as possible. The decision on whether the elections are postponed or not postponed, that's something the Iraqis have to decide for themselves.

MODERATOR: You had the question, yeah.

Q: (inaudible)... Al Alam News. Concernant le Dialogue méditerranéenMéditerranéen, on se demande... il y a trois pays qui ne font partis de ce Dialogue: la Palestine, la Syrie et le Liban. Est-ce que vous avez une réponse pour cela? Deuxième question pour l'Ukraine, au. Au cas ou il y aurait probablement une intervention militaire russe dans ceces pays, comment. Comment va réagir l'OTAN?

ALTENBURG: Comment, comment, comment?

MODÉRATRICE: Comment va réagir l'OTAN s'il y a une invasion de l'Ukraine par la Russie (inaudible)...51:14

ALTENBURG: Bonne question. Well... par rapport à la première question la Syrie, Liban etc. il est clair que tous les participants... pour avoir un nouveau membre dans le Dialogue Méditerranéen il faudra un consensus au sein de l'Alliance et si je suis bien informé, à ce point nous n'avons pas de demande du côté de la Syrie ou du Liban n'est-ce pas pour participer dans le dialogue.
Donc ce que fera la Libye on verra bien. Je vois bien que les européens sont tous là à Tripoli n'est-ce pas pour intensifier leur dialogue. C'est bien fait mais là aussi on attend. La question de l'invasion russe en Ukraine, mon cher ami ce n'est pas sérieux, non?

MODERATOR:: Okay, (inaudible)...

ALTENBURG: Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:: Thank you very much.

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