New Year's Message by the NATO Secretary General

Let me, for the last time as NATO Secretary General, take this opportunity to wish you and yours my best wishes for the holiday season, and for a happy 2009.


NATO presents 60 years of Alliance history

On 19 December, NATO launched its 60th anniversary web site featuring videos, documents, and images from NATO’s past. Among other activities, site visitors may browse photos of women soldiers from the 1950s, watch videos celebrating early NATO Allies, and attend the lectures of NATO’s Jamie Shea, who holds forth on Alliance history in his own online classroom.


NATO Review latest edition

The latest edition of the NATO Review looks at Partnerships and the way they are evolving. Is partnership still enough for Finland, where a debate on full NATO membership has been taking place since the events of the summer? Do the Gulf States need something more than the partnership they already have? Could China be interested in a future link up with NATO? And how do partnerships give practical benefits? Montenegro's Defence Minister gives a few examples.


NATO Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero visits Azerbaijan

The NATO Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero visited Azerbaijan on 16 December 2008 in order to meet with high - level officials and discuss issues of common interest in the context of Azerbaijan's Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO.


NATO hands over counter-piracy operation to EU

Admiral Gumiero, Commander of the NATO counter-piracy Operation Allied Provider off the coast of Somalia, met with his EU counterpart, Commodore Papaioannou, to ensure a smooth transition to EU Operation ATALANTA on 14 December 2008.

Youth forum promotes dialogue and cooperation

NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) supports the second second Greek-Turkish Youth Initiative and South/East Forum, organized by the Turkish Euro-Atlantic Youth Committee (YATATURK) on 12-13 December 2008 in Istanbul. 

Successful completion of NATO mission Operation Allied Provider

NATO completes its mission to escort World Food Programme (WFP) chartered vessels delivering humanitarian aid today. NATO provided an escort on eight occasions which resulted in the safe delivery of 30,000 metric tonnes of humanitarian aid to Somalia.

Moroccan policy-makers visit NATO

On 11 and 12 December 2008, the NATO Public Diplomacy Division organized a visit to NATO Headquarters of policy-makers from Morocco.

Over 100,000 merchant ships hailed by NATO in the Mediterranean

Operation Active Endeavour has reached a major milestone in its efforts to counter terrorism in the Mediterranean. Since the operation started in 2001, the NATO units assigned to the operation have contacted over 100,000 merchant ships.


North Atlantic Council meets with the Minister of the Interior of Afghanistan

On Wednesday 10th December 2008, the North Atlantic Council in ISAF format met with His Excellency Mr. Mohamad Hanif Atmar, recently appointed as Afghanistan’s Minister of the Interior.

High Level Opinion Leaders from ICI invited countries visit NATO

On 10 December 2008 the NATO Public Diplomacy Division organised a visit to NATO Headquarters of High Level Opinion Leaders from the Gulf Region.

Defence Leaders Forum highlights Information Technology’s role

NATO Communication and Information Systems Services Agency co-chaired the 2008 Defence Leaders Forum in Lisbon from 9 to 12 December, together with Microsoft Corporation and the Ministry of Defence of Portugal. The two-day event gathered more than 250 participants from NATO Partnership for Peace and Mediterranean Dialogue countries, as well as other nations supporting NATO operations, to discuss the role that Information Technology can play in supporting a comprehensive approach, and ensuring the safety and security of all citizens.


NATO train journeys through South-Eastern Europe

The NATO train is currently undertaking its second journey across South-Eastern Europe, on the route of the famous Orient Express, to carry out the message that there are no borders when it comes to security and cooperation.

President of Latvia visits NATO

The President of Latvia, Mr. Valdis Zatlers, visited NATO Headquarters on Tuesday 9th December. He met with the Secretary General, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan visits NATO

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, visited NATO Headquarters on Tuesday 9th December 2008. He met with the Secretary General, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

“NATO at 60: bigger, bolder, better?”

With the support of NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, four Washington-based think tanks (the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Atlantic Council, the Center for Technology and National Security Policy of the National Defense University, and the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS) have partnered to host a series of high-level workshops on various challenges facing the Alliance.

Science workshop focuses on port and harbour security

A Science for Peace and Security (SPS) -funded workshop held in Opatija, Croatia, on 8-12 December addressed the challenge of better dovetailing human behaviour and technological systems with view to enhancing maritime domain awareness in harbour and port security.

First disaster coordination exercise in Kosovo

It is with a catastrophic scenario of a powerful earthquake hitting northern Kosovo that the Multinational Task Force North ran a major security simulation from 8 to 12 December 2008. A first in the Kosovar landscape, the seminar gathered civil and military representatives to elaborate common procedures in case of a major disaster.


High level opinion leaders from the Atlantic Forum of Israel visit NATO

On 8 December 2008 the NATO Public Diplomacy Division organized a visit to NATO Headquarters of High Level Opinion Leaders from the Atlantic Forum of Israel.

The lights are on in Garmsir, Helmand Province

After a long and difficult struggle for freedom from Taliban rule, the lights are finally shining in Garmsir. In an area where drug trafficking and smuggling remains a problem, the shopkeepers and traders of Garmsir are returning to ‘business as usual’.

“French soldiers in the heart of Afghanistan”

In cooperation with the French Army, NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division has put together a photography exhibition on French soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Entitled “French soldiers in the heart of Afghanistan”, the exhibition traces France’s involvement in the Afghan theatre since 2003.

High level journalists from Israel visit NATO

On 4 December 2008 the NATO Public Diplomacy Division organized a visit to NATO Headquarters of  high-level journalists from Israel.


Securing the food and water chain infrastructure

A NATO Advanced Research Workshop on security threats to food and water chain infrastructure was held in Vienna on 3-5 December 2008, with the aim to strengthen and reinforce prevention and response programmes.

NATO Deputy Secretary General visits Tunisia

On 3-4 December 2008, the NATO Deputy Secretary General, H. E. Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero paid his first official visit to Tunisia and held bilateral talks with the Foreign Minister H.E. Mr. Abdelwaheb Abdallah and with the Defense Minister H.E. Mr. Kamel Morjane.

Allies discuss relations with Ukraine and Georgia and send a signal to Russia

As tasked by the Heads of State and Government in Bucharest, Allied Ministers discussed progress made by Ukraine and Georgia towards meeting membership requirements and discussed best ways to assist with their reforms.

NATO Foreign Ministers address Afghanistan, Kosovo and piracy

NATO Foreign Ministers held discussions on the Alliance’s engagement in Afghanistan during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 3 December 2008.

Foreign Ministers review progress in Mediterranean Dialogue

NATO Foreign Ministers met with their Mediterranean Dialogue partners during a ministerial working lunch on 2 December. This was the third meeting of the NATO Foreign Ministers in the framework of the MD, following those which took place in December 2004 and 2007 in Brussels.

MD and ICI press tour for MD Ministers meeting

On 1-3 December 2008 the NATO Public Diplomacy Division organised a three-day press tour at NATO Headquarters for journalists from the main media organisations in the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative countries, including from invited countries Oman and Saudi Arabia.

NATO cosponsors Afghan movie festival in Estonia

Afghan movies and movie-makers were at the forefront of a three-day film festival entitled “Silk Road Hot Spots”, itself part of the 12th Tallin Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia. The event was organized by the Estonian Atlantic Treaty Association and cosponsored by NATO and the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia visits NATO

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, Mr. Stephen Smith, visited NATO Headquarters on Monday 1st December 2008. He met the Secretary General, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.