Updated: 21-May-2003 May 2003

14-15 May 2003


Lord Robertson visits Caucasus

NATO remains committed to stability in the Caucasus, but it is up to the countries in the region to find peaceful solutions to existing conflicts, said Secretary General Lord Robertson during a two-day visit.

The Secretary General travelled to Georgia and Armenia on 14 and 15 May and Azerbaijan on 15 May. He met with the Heads of State and top officials, addressed parliamentarians and the public.

Lord Robertson explained how NATO is transforming to deal with today’s new security threats and how strengthening its partnerships with non-members is a key aspect of this transformation.

“The NATO that emerged from the Prague Summit is a profoundly transformed NATO. But transformation cannot apply only to NATO itself,” he said in an address to the Azeri Parliament, “Our Partnership, too, must transform, to be relevant and effective in the 21st century.”

Individual programmes, tailored to the specific needs of each country and a joint plan of action against terrorism are two key aspects of this transformation. The Alliance will also place a greater emphasis on promoting regional cooperation.

But this will not include playing a leading role in facilitating the peace processes in the region. “That responsibility rests first and foremost with the parties of the region themselves,” said Lord Robertson in Tbilisi, “The first answers to the simmering conflicts in the Caucasus must lie here, not with outside actors.”

In addition to his meetings, in Baku Lord Robertson inaugurated a new station of NATO’s Virtual Silk Highway network. The Virtual Silk Highway, a project launched by the NATO Science Committee in 2002, will improve considerably the Internet connection of the academic communities of the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. With the new station, Azerbaijan will be the sixth country connected to the network.

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