This year, NATO is celebrating its 50th anniversary. A launching
ceremony, marking the beginning of the celebrations, took place
last week. The heir to the crown, H.R.H. Prince Philippe of Belgium
(on photo: left), the Belgian Prime Minister, Jean-Luc Dehaene (right),
and other high-level government officials, together with the NATO
Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana (centre), and the Deputy Secretary
General, Ambassador Sergio Balanzino, attended a ceremony at which
a series of five Belgian commemorative postal stamps were presented.
These stamps will be available from 15 March.
This symbolic ceremony is the beginning of a series of activities
which the Alliance, member and partner countries and independent
organisations have set up to celebrate NATO at 50. NATO was created
in 1949 by European and North American countries. Today, NATO and
partner countries from Central and Eastern Europe are also developing
cooperation in a number of different fields. (A 50th anniversary
calendar of activities is available on the NATO website).