|Last update: 07-Feb-2006 9:48||NATO Update|
Solidarity key to security, says NATO Secretary General
In a major speech at the Munich Security Conference, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said political, military and financial solidarity was the key to dealing with today’s security challenges.
“Today’s challenges are very different. They require us to act – sometimes in faraway regions; where we know our soldiers’ lives will be at risk; where the costs can be high; and where the engagements can seem long,” he told the conference.
The Secretary General outlined the areas in which changes needed to be made if NATO was to maximize its potential “as a place where Europe and North America come together to project stability.”
This includes ensuring that the NATO Response Force achieves full operational capability, improving access to strategic lift and introducing better funding mechanisms, he said.
Mr. De Hoop Scheffer also stressed that NATO needs to work more effectively with current partners, and reach out to new ones, including the European Union.
Moving this “unfinished transformation” forward will be the focus of the upcoming NATO Summit in Riga, this November, he told the conference.
“In this new world, solidarity is the key: political, military and financial solidarity… I think we can do better – in the way we operate, in the way we pay for what we do, and in the way we work with the wider world. And I believe that the SummitRiga will prove it,” the Secretary General said.
Mr. De Hoop Scheffer also said that there are more issues, such as energy security, that Allies should consider bringing to the NATO table.
The Secretary General was speaking in the context of the panel discussion on “NATO’s future role in international peace keeping” at the 42 nd Munich Conference on Security Policy, 4 February.
During his stay in Munich, he also met with a number of officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.