Updated: 21-Oct-2005 NATO Speeches


21 Oct. 2005

Joint press conference

with NATO Secretary General, Jaap De Hoop Scheffer
and the President of Armenia


JAMES APPATHURAI (NATO Spokesperson): Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. I have two brief opening statements and then there'll be time for questions. Secretary General, please.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (Secretary General of NATO): Well, let me say how glad we are, how happy I am to welcome President Kocharian, I say again, to NATO. Last time we met was in Yerevan .

I think if we look at Armenia-NATO relations they are developing very well. Foreign Minister Oskanian who was also in our midst today, presented, as you might remember, the presentation document of the so-called Individual Partnership Action Plan to the North Atlantic Council not that long ago when he came here. And I discussed this, of course, with the President, because we're now working on the IPAP document itself, and I think that is a good example, a good presentation document, will lead to a very good IPAP document, which will then be the basis for closer cooperation between Armenia and NATO.

Also in other ways I think we have seen very positive things in the relationship given the fact that Armenia is supporting the KFOR, NATO's KFOR operation in Afghanistan . I think that's very important from a political point of view... in... sorry, in Kosovo, excuse me. You know, it's always good to have the President with me. In Kosovo, that is for political reasons a very big plus and that is also a plus because we can work on interoperability in that respect.

The third point I would like to make is that this relationship between Armenia and NATO shows that neither Armenia nor NATO operates in competition, but complementary to other organizations. You see Armenia having a good relationship with Russia , and a good relationship with NATO. And the same goes for NATO, with Armenia and with the Russian Federation . It's good to remember that.

Of course, we discussed... the President briefed me on the latest state of play as far as Nagorno Karabakh is concerned. You know that NATO is not seeking a direct role, but is giving support to the activities of the Minsk group. We have followed the last meeting between the two presidents in Kazan . We discussed the important process of constitutional reform in Armenia , which I would like to underline the referendum that is going to be held on the 27th of November, if I'm (inaudible)... here I'm right, you see. Which is important and where there was also a close relationship with the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

In sum, we see here a relationship which is developing well. The President Kocharian started by telling me we do what we say and we say what we do. The same goes for NATO, and I think that is an excellent basis for our cooperation.

Thank you very much.

ROBERT KOCHARIAN (President of Armenia): We have had a very interesting discussion and we have discussed the extending level of cooperation over a number of programs we have with NATO. The position of Armenia has always been to accept the amount of obligations which are implementable and which can be efficiently implemented to further our cooperation with NATO.

We have discussed a number of issues across the spectrum which Secretary General has outlined now, and I think that these kind of discussions are very important, particularly considering the key role NATO is playing for security of European space.

We, of course, have also discussion Nagorno-Karabakh issue, which Mr. Scheffer is very well aware, particularly considering his previous role of chairman and office of OSCE, and we have discussed the progress that is being achieved there.

I've very satisfied, both with the substance of the issues we have discussed during the meeting today, and the environment that was created here for this meeting, and I appreciate, Mr. Scheffer, your welcome.

APPATHURAI: We have time for questions. Yes.

Q: Mr. Scheffer, I would like to know (inaudible)... a partnership between Armenia and NATO for five, ten years. I'd like to know what changes can we expect in Armenia ? Thank you.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Well, let me answer, as I said in my introduction, and I think the President confirmed this, that we have always developed this relationship step by step and not building, let's say great theories, but being very practical in our cooperation.

What is an Individual Partnership Action Plan, that's individual, that is between Armenia and NATO. That's not a regional thing, that's an individual thing, in which we can, both Armenia and NATO, can bring in those elements we both consider important for the further development of our relationship. And that regards, let's say the framework, of course, in which NATO operates. NATO is not the European Union. The European Union has its Neighbourhood Policy. I know that the President has also discussed at the other side of Brussels the European Neighbourhood Policy. I think it's important that NATO and the European Union in that respect, give the same kind of signals and operate more or less along parallel tracks.

So let's now focus, I would say, on this Industry Partnership Action Plan and let's make it into a success. And if we make this into a success we'll see where we go from there. I think this is a pragmatic partnership, an important partnership, a pragmatic, and may I say, based on a good relationship.

Let me add, we watch, of course, with great interest... we all watch with great interest the referendum in Armenia because it is a constitutional reform. It... there has been contacts with the Council of Europe and the OSCE. Important, not only given my personal past, but important because they set, of course, criteria, important criteria for a free and fair referendum and for what is being discussed in the referendum. And that we do consider as an important element.

You know, that NATO has Ambassador Simmons as my representative for the region. We have a liaison officer as well, so also on the day-to-day level, because it's not every day that President Kocharian comes to NATO, or I come to Yerevan , we have a permanent basis for increasing our cooperation.

KOCHARIAN: I would like just to add to this as the efficiency of our cooperation with NATO is very much based on the fact that in the very delicate region we live we try to take the amount of responsibilities in our cooperation with NATO which would not create a feeling of threat in our allies. In other words, it's not a competitive cooperation. It's coming to fulfil the goal of complementarity in foreign policy that is declared as a cornerstone of Armenia foreign policy in the region of South Caucasus .

Q: Secretary General, a question on Pakistan , if I may? Could you give us an idea at this stage what sort of scope of additional support in terms of personnel and other material, such as helicopters, that NATO is looking to send to Pakistan now, please?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Well, let me start by saying... bring you up to date on the present situation. We had, as you know, Jan Egeland, the UN relief coordinator this morning in Council, who has given us his analysis and his picture of the situation, which is of course, very grave. You know that NATO has already set up, and that's functioning and operating at the moment, a major strategic airlift operation of relief supplies to Pakistan . It's the first in NATO's history. It will take, if I consult my paper, over one thousand tonnes of relief supplies to Pakistan , provided by the UNHCR, the High Commission of Refugees, NATO nations and other countries as well.

As you know, on the basis of a list of wishes, which was presented to us by the Pakistani government last week this airlift began last week, it's well on the way now. We use Boeing 707s, 15 tonnes, to be exact, an Antonov for a base camp of UNHCR, which has transported 65 tonnes. We're using C-130 Hercules planes from Incirlik in Turkey , already 75 tonnes. Two C-130 flights today and 12 other C-130 flights to begin as soon as possible.

Now, you know, the NATO... the scale of the disaster is evolving and at the moment we are finalizing... I can't be more specific at this moment, at the moment we are finalizing what NATO is going to do more, which also will include certain elements of the NATO Response Force, what NATO can do more in bringing relief, shelter to the dire needs of the Afghans.

As you know, there is a major donor conference next Wednesday in Geneva where I will go to that conference. I would hope that there governments, ministers, ministers for development cooperation, but also other ministers and governments, will pledge money. I had a phone conversation with Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday. Jan Egeland was here this morning. And what we are doing now, because that was your question, we are finalizing arrangements on the basis of extending the airlift, but also doing more in Pakistan itself.

I hope that I can be a bit more specific as soon as we have finalized the procedure.

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