Updated: 24-Nov-2005 NATO Speeches


23 Nov . 2005

Press point with NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel


Audio file
High resolution photos of the arrival
High resolution photos of the press point

JAMES APPATHURAI (NATO Spokesman): Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary General and the Chancellor will make a few opening remarks and then we will have time for questions.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (Secretary General of NATO): (SPEAKING IN German)...

It's a signal that within 24 hours after the Bundestag, the German Chancellor and the German Aussenminister have come to NATO. It's... I think it underlines the importance Germany attaches to NATO. It underlines the continuity of German foreign policy and many of you will have read, as I did, the agreement between the German coalition partners and it is crystal clear that NATO is the anchor for the Transatlantic Security Policy Dialogue.

Let me add that I'm very happy to see Chancellor Merkel and Aussenminister Steinmeier here at NATO this afternoon, because Germany , of course, plays a very important role in the Transatlantic Alliance within NATO in the different operations and missions. It goes without saying, because I'll keep it short, that the Chancellor, the Foreign Minister, and myself had a brief tour d'horizon about the state of play, the state of affairs in NATO, NATO's operations and missions, the ministerial meetings in front of us, the summits in front of us, and I hope to come to Berlin soon to continue this discussion.

(SPEAKING IN GERMAN)... Thank you very much.

ANGELA MERKEL (Chancellor, Federal Republic of Germany): Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen. Let me begin by thanking you, Secretary General, for the very friendly welcome with which you've greeted us here. Indeed, the fact that we've come here within 24 hours after the government was formed and after I took office, is meant to be an expression of the fact that NATO is important for us. Not only as a military alliance, but also as a political alliance, important for the Transatlantic Security Dialogue.

In view of the many important challenges lying ahead for NATO, we've touched in our discussion today, and underlined once again how important it is that political will is there, is present, is expressed, for NATO to be able to take action wherever necessary.

And also to see that NATO is visible as an expression of common activity of those united in this Alliance , which is not only, as I said, a military alliance, but also a political alliance.

We talked about strategic partnerships, about the need to act together inside NATO and that that requires the individual contribution by individual member states as a contribution to highlight whatever NATO can achieve.

We have made it very clear, in our discussions today, that despite the difficult financial situation German finds itself in right now, we are, of course, more than willing to shoulder our obligations and to face up to our duties as a member of this Alliance, and that we intend to continue to be a reliable partner.

It was very important, and you, Secretary General, pointed this out to us, that NATO is, of course, not capable of solving all the problems of the world. Afghanistan , I think, is an example of that being the case. What we need is a very comprehensive political effort and in order for NATO to be able to come in and to make its contribution we also have to get the individual support of the member states in other fields; in the field of economic assistance, and in other areas of mutual assistance for NATO to succeed. And this is very important, this kind of support.

We, Germany , in pursuing the policy that we've set ourselves, we'll be very attentive to that objective, and we'll continue to make our contribution.

The only thing I can add now is that we're looking forward to cooperating with you, Secretary General, and I think I speak on behalf of the Foreign Minister too when I say that you're more than welcome to visit(?) to Germany.

APPATHURAI: Questions?

Q: Yes, (inaudible)... dpa, Germany Press Agency. Madam Chancellor, Federal Chancellor, you spoke of the importance of the transatlantic ties. Do you believe, or is that to say that you believe that the ties between the United States of America and Germany need to be improved upon, or even to go as far as to say that the ties between the United States of America and Germany have to be repaired?

MERKEL: I believe that the ties between the U.S. of America and Germany can be developed further. NATO should be, I believe, rather, the place where people turn first, with member states, turn first to discuss political issues of common concern. Only when it proves... when NATO proves not to be a place in which agreement can be reached, should individual partners be allowed to pursue their individual parts.

But first and foremost we should try to pursue the approach that NATO is the place for such discussions of common interests and interests of common concern. I believe that that is very necessary. Only in that way can we see to it that NATO continues to be a political alliance.

APPATHURAI: Last question.

Q: A question for the Chancellor from Mark John from Reuters. Until now Germany has refused to take part in training of Iraqi officers actually inside Iraq . Would the Chancellor consider a change of that policy within these efforts to strengthen the NATO partnership?

MERKEL: In the meeting that we've just with the Secretary General we repeated once again that we will continue to apply the approach that we will not support military training, the training measures inside Iraq, but we will continue the efforts under way to provide any kind of assistance in the surrounding, in the neighbouring countries.

Thank you very much.


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