Updated: 30-Oct-2006 NATO Speeches


27 Jan. 2005

Video Background Briefing

by the NATO Spokesman

Audio file .MP3/1658Kb
Video interview
James Appathurai

Hello, this is James Appathurai. Thanks for tuning in to this month's update on the upcoming month, the four... few weeks at NATO Headquarters.

This is a month where we will be concentrating very much on transatlantic relations and on some very high level meetings. The new Secretary of State of the United States, Condoleezza Rice, will be coming to NATO Headquarters, early in February.

Following that the NATO Defence Ministers will be meeting in Nice for an informal meeting, which means that it will be a meeting where there's very open discussion, but no formal, structured decisions are taken.

And followed by that, of course, we will have the visit by President Bush to NATO Headquarters, where a Summit meeting will be held.

The theme of all of these meetings is very clear. That the transatlantic community, Europe and North America together, have a lot of work to do. They are already doing a lot together, but they want to come together to share perspectives, to share political perspectives, and implement the many areas where the two sides of the Atlantic have to work together to build peace and security, and project stability around the NATO area and beyond.

The defence ministers meeting in Nice will concentrate, of course, much more on defence issues, on practical issues. That means implementing the missions in Iraq, the operations in Afghanistan and in Kosovo. They will have a very open discussion also on how to continue the military transformation within the Alliance, improving the reach and modernization of NATO forces, improving the balance between the two sides of the Atlantic in military capabilities.

This meeting will of course be very much seen in the context of the Summit meeting itself, on 22nd of February, which will be held here at NATO Headquarters. President Bush and his counterparts, his 25 counterparts, the NATO Heads of State and Government, will have a very political discussion on what they foresee as the future of the transatlantic community's engagement in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in the Balkans.

Together the NATO Allies will take decisions and lay the groundwork for the further expansion of NATO's mission in Afghanistan, its operation in Afghanistan, ISAF, into the west of the country, lay the groundwork for expansion into the south as well. They will continue the implementation of the training mission in Iraq, to keep staffing, what we called Phase 2, Stage 1, in other words, enhancing the training that's taking place in Baghdad. They will also look forward to the second stage. That is the training that NATO will provide to Iraqi security forces, outside the Green Zone, at a facility on the border of Baghdad.

And all the Allies will also discuss how to enhance training taking place outside of Iraq, now that's already happening, more will happen and the Allies will also continue to provide equipment for Iraq as well.

Finally, in the Balkans, all Allies are looking very carefully at the political process in Kosovo that is going forward. It is a political process that is, let's say, complex, in that Kosovo is now entering a period where the contact group, the international community, will be discussing the extent to which Kosovo has met the standards that the international community has set for it, and whether or not Kosovo is ready, in terms of meeting the standards, for a discussion about final status.

One thing should be clear, and that is that KFOR, the NATO peacekeeping force that is on the ground in Kosovo, is fully prepared to continue to play its role in providing peace and security in Kosovo as these very, let's say, challenging political discussions, go forward.

Aside from that, the Secretary General will, in the coming weeks, make trips to London--very important discussions with Prime Minister Blair--and make an appearance at what used to be called the Wehrkundetagung, the Munich Security Conference, to give a major speech on the Middle East.

So this will be a very interesting, a very important month for NATO, but also a very important month for transatlantic security cooperation, which of course takes place principally through this Alliance. The Summit meeting, the Defence Ministers meeting, the visit of the Secretary of State will very much put this Atlantic Alliance in a position to discuss the security issues that they have in common and lay the groundwork for implementing the decisions that they need to take to continue to provide for security and project stability.

Thank you for watching.

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