|Updated: 23-Nov-2005||NATO Update|
New German Chancellor calls for “political” NATO
Twenty-four hours after her appointment, the new Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, visited NATO HQ, stressing the importance of NATO as a political Alliance.
Ms Merkel and the new Foreign Minister of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, met with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to discuss the main issues on the Alliance’s agenda.
A forum for political discussion
Speaking to reporters, Chancellor Merkel said her visit was a sign of the importance Germany attaches to NATO, not only as a military, but also as a political Alliance.
"NATO should be the place where people turn first with member states to discuss political issues of common concern," she said.
Ms Merkel added that unilateral action was possible only after it was clear that all efforts for a joint Alliance approach failed.
"Only in that way can we see to it that NATO continues to be a political Alliance," she stressed.
Among other items, the Chancellor and the Secretary General discussed the NATO Summits planned for 2006 and 2008, and the future of NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Secretary General told reporters that he soon hoped to visit Berlin.
This was Ms Merkel’s first foreign trip, 24-hours after her appointment as Chancellor. She first visited Paris, then NATO HQ and was due to visit the European Parliament and Commission.