Updated: 11-Apr-2005 NATO Speeches


7 Apr . 2005

Video interview

with Jean Fournet, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy

Audio file .MP3/1848Kb
Video interview

Q: Mr. Fournet, you are the Assistant NATO Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, thank you for joining us today to talk about the upcoming conference organised under the auspices of the NATO Secretary General on NATO's transformation.

Why does the Secretary General organise an annual conference?

JEAN FOURNET (Assistant Secretary General of the NATO Public Diplomacy Division): Thank you for your invitation. Well we organise this annual conference because we want to generate a very constructive discussion on very important issues for NATO and we want to do it with the participation of members from the nations which belong to the organisation; with the Secretary General himself that will be chairing the meeting from the beginning until the end; with national experts; with people from the international staff; and with also the Ambassadors from the NATO countries and from partner countries.

Q: What is the exact theme of this year's conference?

FOURNET: Well the exact theme of this year's conference is "Transforming NATO: A Political and Military Challenge". This is a very important theme as you may understand.

Just as a reminder, I will tell you that in 2002 we had also a Secretary General conference that was on the future of NATO; and in 2003 it was our experience of peacekeeping and reconstruction in the Balkans as a pointer for our responsibility in Afghanistan. So you see each time, we try to have a very big debate, a very important discussion on a theme which is of relevance and of interest to NATO.

Q: Why is NATO transforming and, judging from the title that you mentioned, this is not just about military transformation is it?

FOURNET: No. NATO is transforming because it's a living body. Any living body has to adapt and to adjust to the evolution of the environment. And you know when you are speaking of the transformation of NATO, now of course it's a keyword, everybody is thinking how to transform, but it's something that we started 56 years ago when we initiated this Alliance: transforming to adjust to the evolution; transforming to face the new threats and the new challenges.

Q: And as you said, this is wider than just military transformation.

FOURNET: Absolutely, it's of course dealing with the military aspect but also the political aspect. It's dealing with all the aspects that are of concern for a big organisation and this is something which is very important. Not only to speak on military issues, not only to speak on political issues, not only to speak on any other issues - sometimes we refer to the third dimension of NATO - but to think of all the aspects of the organisation which need to be transformed to adapt to the evolution of our environment and to face new threats and challenges.

Q: What, as the Assistant Secretary General in charge of the Public Diplomacy Division, what is the role of the Division in preparing this conference?

FOURNET: Well our role is first in the conception of the event; which kind of theme should we evoke; which kind of speakers should we contact; in which framework; how should it evolve. We have a conceptual role. We have a practical role also in connecting and contacting people and we have a role in implementing the decisions that are taken by the Secretary General when it comes to the organisation of this. So, conception, organisation, implementation, and I think also that at the end of this meeting, we have to promote the results of this meeting.

Q: Speaking about the results, what do you expect as results from the conference?

FOURNET: Well I precisely expect that people that not only will attend the conference but those who will be able to read about this conference or to listen to this conference will think that NATO and transformation is not only a military aspect. It's something of a broader nature. That's the first point - the first part.

The second which I am thinking of is also that, from these debates between people who have a high stake in transforming the organisation, we can come to common grounds on what to do, what not to do, what might be done. Well these sorts of debates are always important not only by the preparation, not only by the discussion, but also by the follow-on of these meetings.

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