|Last update: 22-Sep-2006 9:06||NATO Update|
NATO Ministers take forward Riga agenda
Meeting in New York in preparation for the upcoming NATO Summit in Riga, Foreign Ministers addressed the Alliance’s operation in Afghanistan, enlargement of NATO, strengthening NATO’s partnerships, intensified dialogue with Georgia and the situation in Darfur.
Speaking after the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Ministers were reasonably encouraged by the generation of forces for NATO’s Afghanistan mission, but that more was necessary.
The Secretary General expressed concern at the pace of the development effort in Afghanistan, saying that more progress and high-level political attention was necessary.
“NATO can do what it does, and what it does successfully, in creating a climate of stability and security which is a precondition for development,” Mr. De Hoop Scheffer told reporters, “But the other side of the coin should also get attention and more attention, because you will have no long-lasting stability without development.”
Looking to Riga
While no decisions on enlargement were taken at the meeting, Ministers indicated that the message at Riga to countries aspiring to join NATO will be clear, strong and forward-leaning.
They also shared the view that NATO's relations with ‘Contact countries’ (non-member, non-Partner countries that contribute to the Alliance’s missions and operations) should be strengthened, with an eye to the Riga Summit.
Ministers confirmed the decision to offer an Intensified Dialogue to Georgia, with the expectation that it would enhance regional and Euro-Atlantic security.
Prior to the meeting, the Secretary General met with the Congolese President, also Chairperson of the African Union, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, and spoke to African Union Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare.
The African Union has asked NATO to extend its support to the AU’s mission in Darfur until the end of the year. The Ministers expressed their profound concern about the humanitarian situation in Darfur.