HomeMEDIA RESOURCES200311 November - PRESS COMMUNIQUE, ORLANDO, Florida
11 November - PRESS COMMUNIQUE, ORLANDO, Florida
NATO-PA PRESIDENT CALLS FOR ALLIANCE ROLE IN IRAQ
Stating that he believed tensions between Europe and the United States over Iraq were in the past, the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA), US Congressman Doug Bereuter, called today (Tuesday) for the alliance to play a larger role in the post-war interim administration.
“If NATO does not assume command of the entire military operation in Iraq… (then) at a minimum, the Alliance should assume command of the Polish sector when Poland’s six-month commitment ends next year,” Congressman Bereuter (Rep, Nebraska) told the plenary session of the NATO-Parliamentary Assembly.
In his address to the 49th annual session of the NATO-PA meeting, Mr Bereuter said he was particularly heartened by the manner in which the Assembly, which groups together parliamentarians from 19 NATO member states and 20 Associate members, had done its part to “repair and reinvigorate” the transatlantic link.
“The Alliance survived what one participant termed a ‘near-death experience’,” he noted, recalling NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson’s words that the serious damage was “above the waterline.”
Mr Bereuter said he believed the European Union should be prepared to take the leading role in peacekeeping missions in Europe, such as Bosnia and Kosovo, but said it was essential NATO remain the pre-eminent security organisation and that any European component should not duplicate its role.
“NATO remains the organisation that can most effectively defend the nations of Europe and North America against serious threats to their security,” stressed Mr Bereuter, who said he was “quite concerned” by a provision in the proposed EU Constitution for the European Union to take on a mutual defence role.
He said he feared this could “duplicate the fundamental reason for NATO’s creation and its primary mission”.
Focusing on the Alliance’s forthcoming enlargement to include seven countries from the former communist European bloc, Mr Bereuter enthused that when these countries join the Alliance in 2004 he believed they would reinvigorate NATO.
“The forthcoming enlargement the fifth in NATO’s history will further erase the dividing lines that were drawn at Yalta and further extend the zone of peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic region,” he told the NATO parliamentarians.
Referring to last year’s Prague summit when NATO member states agreed to enhance operational capabilities, Mr Bereuter said that “despite some progress the report card continues to be mixed.” “We must ensure that our governments fully fund the pledges that they have made under the Prague Capabilities Commitment,” he declared.
The NATO-PA began its 49th Annual Session in Orlando, Florida on November 7. The five-day session was devoted to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the new security threats facing NATO, such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
[Journalists interested in more information or obtaining a copy of the speech should contact Mr
Jonathan Clayton or Mr Keith Williams at the press service of the NATO PA on the following numbers: +1 407 685 6158 and +1 407 685 6159. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]