14 and 15 November 2006 - SUMMARY of the meeting of the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security, Room 200B, Québec City Convention Centre, Québec City, Canada
Ambassador Donald S. Hays, Chief Operating Officer, Business Executives for National Security (BENS), United States
Sami Aoun, Professor, Department of History and Political Science, University of Sherbrooke, Canada
Wesley Wark, Professor, International Relations Program, Munk Center for International Studies, Toronto University, Canada
Ambassador David Pratt, Advisor and Special Ambassador for the Canadian Red Cross
Josée Verner, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages, Québec
I. Opening Remarks
1. The Chairman, Michael Clapham (UK) began the meeting by welcoming members and speakers and by thanking the Canadian delegation. The agenda for the meeting and the minutes of the Committee meeting in Paris were adopted without comment.
2. Ambassador Hays provided a critical assessment of the international community's approach to stabilisation and reconstruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina, calling it a qualified success. Lessons learned from the Bosnian experience demonstrate the need for a coherent plan, a clear concept for an "End State", a unified command structure, and a bottom-up approach. He argued that Bosnia still has a long way to go to build strong institutions. The political system remains plagued by a lack of political leadership on part of the major political parties, as well as a lack of political consensus on the distribution of responsibilities at the various levels of administration. October's elections did not radically change this situation, although they resulted in new political leadership. Mr Hays underlined that EU and US leaders have an important role to play in promoting consensus on Bosnia and Herzegovina's future institutional framework. They also need to provide a clear prospect for Bosnia and Herzegovina's future in the Euro-Atlantic community.
3. Jane Cordy (CA) asked the speaker whether the international community is learning from the Bosnian experience that democratic reform needs to be implemented from the bottom up. Mr Hays explained that, although it is difficult to circumvent State structures, the international community still needs to do a better job of designing local strategies.
4. On Bosnia's future institutional framework, responding to a question by Vitalino Canas (PT), Amb Hays added that the next round of negotiations will not be easier than the previous one. The international community also needs to prepare better and sooner for these talks, and have a coherent position both on the end goal and on the tactics. Responding to a question by Barbara Haering (CH), Mr Hays warned that the phasing out of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) would be a very difficult task, which will have to be managed very carefully. However, one could find comfort in the fact that a common vision is growing within Bosnia and Herzegovina as to what the country intends to be. Nevertheless, he admitted, in response to a question by Eirin Faldet (NO), that young people had little hope in their country's future.
5. In response to other questions by Mr Canas and the Chairman on the issue of war crime trials and prospects for Euro-Atlantic integration, Mr Hays stated that while it is important that war criminals are brought to justice, it does not make sense to hold this as a condition on Bosnia's progress when these men are no longer on Bosnian territory and NATO itself could not capture them. NATO should therefore find a way of admitting Bosnia and Herzegovina into the PfP while reaffirming the importance of full respect for the rule of law. Similarly, the signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU could provide a strong incentive for further reforms. However, Bosnian authorities will need continued advice and assistance in this difficult process.
6. In response to questions by Ahmet Faruk Ünsal (TR) and Mr Canas regarding the impact of the regional context, Mr Hays explained that relations between Serbia and Bosnia have become less corrosive over the last decade. Moreover, he argued that it is doubtful that Bosnians would support any radical reaction in the event that Kosovo would become independent. However, the international community needs to take into account the Bosnian population's expectations in terms of security when downsizing the international military presence in the country.
7. Mihail Lupoi (RO) asked about the role of religion in political life. Mr Hays replied that religion was not an issue during the constitutional debates, and that the real questions are about people and power, not religion.
8. Sami Aoun stated that Canada is no longer isolated from terrorism. The threat should not be exaggerated, but it is real. This has caused problems in Canadian society, challenging its multicultural model. Domestically, young Canadian Muslims find themselves faced with radically divergent views of the world: radical Islam or liberal, secular Canada. A second issue relates to Canada's foreign policy. The need to create a security perimeter around North America has left some Canadians worried about losing independence. Canada's involvement in Afghanistan has also harmed Canada's image with Muslims. Mr Aoun called on the Canadian Muslim community to have a deep discussion on how to react to extremism. A response focusing only on law enforcement and security aspects is not sufficient.
9. Wesley Wark agreed that Canada is not immune to radicalism, but insisted that it also does not have the baggage that former colonial powers have. Canada practises relative conservatism and moderation in its foreign policy and domestic security policies. There are some flashpoints for Canada, however, including its involvement in Afghanistan, perceptions of discrimination against its Muslim community, the shift in its foreign policy, and secrecy surrounding some immigration and intelligence practices. Mr Wark argued that the Canadian government has not done a good job of measuring this balance sheet and explaining it to the public. In the future, Canada's anti-terrorism policy should give priority to four important ingredients: good intelligence; good law enforcement; good laws; and good community relations.
10. In response to a question by Bert Middel (NL) on public perceptions regarding multiculturalism and terrorism in Europe and Canada, both Mr Aoun and Mr Wark insisted that history helps understand differences in attitudes. Unlike Europe, Canada is a land of immigrants, has no ethnic ghettoes in the suburbs of major cities and has not yet experienced terrorism on its soil. This might explain why Canadians are more confident about their model of multiculturalism.
11. Lord Jopling (UK) asked the panellists about Canada's preparedness for a major chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack. Mr Wark replied that due to Canada's culture of secrecy, people outside the government are not aware of this information. But the government has dedicated new fiscal spending to emergency response and created new capabilities, particularly in the Department of Defense. The government has not paid enough attention to the public health sector, however, and has not tested their capabilities in exercises.
12. Ms Haering enquired about Canada's use of foreign versus domestic intelligence and about an oversight of the intelligence services. Mr Aoun acknowledged that one of the challenges of the fight against terrorism is that democracies sometimes depend on intelligence from undemocratic and sometimes unreliable regimes. This is also true of Canada. Mr Wark explained that Canada had decided after the Second World War against having a foreign intelligence service. Since then the domestic service has migrated to do some foreign work as well. As for democratic oversight, Mr Wark argued that Canada has the most reviewed intelligence service in the world.
13. Responding to a question by Mr Canas about comparing the US and Canadian approaches to terrorism, Mr Wark underlined that US laws gave authorities more extensive powers and that US authorities were also more willing to use their powers. He also added that Canada feels increasingly compelled to co-ordinate its anti-terrorism strategy with the United States.
14. Mr Ünsal expressed the view that, while he disagreed with attempts to link or equate terrorism with Islam, it is necessary to consider recent developments within Muslim societies and understand the reasons for their anger. According to Mr Ünsal, the ongoing conflict in the Middle East is the core problem. Mr Aoun agreed that Muslim communities see themselves as victims, and there is anger due to an imbalance in the international system. This, however, does not justify violence. Mr Wark stressed that Turkey has a profound role to play in helping the world understand Islam. He also challenged the view that solving the Palestinian problem would end terrorism.
15. Ann McKechin (UK) asked whether there was a risk that Muslim communities could become closed isolated groups. Mr Aoun replied that Muslims in Canada tend to adapt some elements of their Muslim identity to the multicultural system of Canada. They generally promote the right to follow individual practices of Muslim faith - such as wearing of the veil, but do not seek community rights such as Muslim tribunals. Mr Wark agreed that the situation in Canada is more fluid than in the United Kingdom, as there is no identified group of Muslim leaders.
16. In response to a question by Mikhail Kapura (RU) about the impact of illegal immigration on terrorism, both speakers agreed that illegal immigration did not represent a major threat for Canada and that Canada's approach aims at dealing with the threats in the countries of origin. Both speakers also agreed with Franco Monaco (IT) that NATO needs to communicate better on its response to the challenge of terrorism and how this challenge has prompted a redefinition of the Alliance's mandate.
17. The Rapporteur underlined the reasons why the new draft report adopted a slightly less optimistic tone. While Bosnia and Herzegovina held successful free and fair elections in October, the campaign leading up to these elections led to political polarisation and radical nationalist rhetoric. Furthermore, it caused a halt in Bosnia's reform process. Priorities for the new Bosnian government should include re-starting the constitutional reform process and police reform, improving the domestic war crimes trials, completing property restitution, and reforming the education system and the economy.
18. Halid Genjac (BA) welcomed the balanced and realistic assessment provided by the report. He agreed that the reform process is stalled, because Bosnia is currently caught in a vicious circle: it cannot join the EU with the OHR, but cannot reform without its help. Bosnia therefore needs more fundamental reforms to the constitution than were proposed before the election, so that Entities can no longer block change. Mr Genjac objected to the reference in paragraph 107 that some Serb leaders have called for a transfer of Republika Srpska to Serbia if Kosovo becomes independent, which he argued is an illegal opinion. The Rapporteur agreed to amend the report in this sense.
19. The Chairman concluded the discussion by suggesting that members of the Committee write to their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs to bring these issues up at EU meetings.
20. Ambassador David Pratt began his presentation with a brief history of the Red Cross movement, and a presentation of the Red Cross' current structure. National societies have a status of "auxiliary to government". However, the complex emergencies of the post-Cold War environment prompted the Red Cross movement to initiate a review of this "auxiliary" role, with a view to ensuring that the unique and privileged partnership between National Red Cross Societies and national governments allows the Red Cross to deliver humanitarian services in accordance with the fundamental principles - humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality. Making this relationship work requires regular communication and a solid legal foundation for Red Cross work. This can take the form of memoranda of understanding with national ministries, which should ensure the best use of the Red Cross Societies' potential as both a strategic and a tactical asset.
21. In response to a question from Ms Cordy, Mr Pratt explained that the Red Cross talks to each ministry individually, and the challenge is to have a larger understanding of the Red Cross' role. He explained that it is important to have local capacity on the ground, as the international community takes time to mobilise and time is essential in an emergency.
22. Jörn Thiessen (DE) asked how Red Cross structures could be built in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. The Ambassador replied that both Afghanistan and Iraq are members of the Federation of Red Cross/Crescent Societies but it is very difficult for national societies to operate there, where there has been a lack of respect for humanitarian workers. In general, the Red Cross has many partnerships between developed and developing countries, especially in Africa, where they work on building local capacity.
23. In response to a question by Lord Jopling regarding the level of preparedness of Red Cross national societies for a CBRN terrorist attack, Mr Pratt underlined that such emergencies require high levels of preparation and knowledge, which usually lie within government structures. In this area, co-ordination with national governments is thus particularly important. Red Cross societies also prepare for major pandemics.
25. Lord Jopling explained that the revised report stresses that, although NATO has already achieved much in the field of civil protection, it needs to co-ordinate its actions better internally and with other organisations. How to do this should be discussed as part of current reflections on NATO's future. The report distinguishes NATO's contribution to "civilian civil protection" and its contribution to "military civil protection". Regarding civilian civil protection, NATO plays only a subsidiary and co-ordinating role, as civil protection is at the heart of national sovereignty. For military civil protection, NATO has developed ways to use its military capabilities for preventing or responding to civil emergencies. There are, however, national limitations to what NATO can do in this area. Moreover, there is no agreement within NATO on what role the Alliance should have in the fight against terrorism. In this context, the report emphasises the importance of NATO's co-operation with other organisations, particularly the EU and the UN.
26. Mr Monaco emphasised that the report raises the question of NATO's role in a globalised world. He argued that NATO needs to be given the tools to address current security threats, but that we should beware of extending the definition of "security" too far, or it would become empty of meaning. The Rapporteur replied that the report tries to illustrate these difficulties by pointing out that there is no consensus within NATO on what its mission should be. He expressed satisfaction that this issue was mentioned in the NATO PA's statement for the Riga Summit, where hopefully NATO heads of state and government will make progress on this issue.
27. Ms Haering asked about the interface between military and civilian responses being different in each country, and how this could affect NATO's response when called to intervene abroad. The Rapporteur replied that this was the key problem, and it may be that NATO will only be able to reach consensus on an ad hoc basis.
28. Josée Verner presented the various aspects of Canada's engagement in Afghanistan. Pointing out that Afghanistan remains the main concern for the Alliance, Ms Verner reaffirmed Canada's commitment to promoting democracy, stability and prosperity in the country and called on all NATO countries to intensify their efforts. She explained that Canada's approach is based on the 3 Ds: defence, diplomacy and development. Reconstruction and development projects focus in particular on the Kandahar region and special attention is devoted to children and women who are essential targets for promoting democratisation in Afghanistan. Canada is the fifth donor country to Afghanistan, while Afghanistan is the first recipient of Canadian aid. Assistance projects include in particular literacy programmes for children, fight against malnutrition, polio vaccination, and professional training for women.
29. Replying to a question by Ms McKechin on the role of women in the new Afghan government, Ms Verner explained that the fact that the new constitution guarantees equal rights for both men and women is a first step forward. However, a lot needs to be done and Canada supports the affirmation of Afghan women.
30. In response to a question by Mr Canas on the undesirable consequences of current drug eradication programmes for Afghanistan's economy, Ms Verner stated that Canada has invested $30 million in alternative cultures for local farmers to address part of this challenge.
31. Showing disillusionment at the current situation in Afghanistan, Sofia Kalantzakou (GR) expressed concerns about the excessive division of funds devoted to Afghanistan - especially for women and children - and lack of control over the actual use of these funds. Ms Verner insisted that the Canadian government is working with the UN to ensure that the funds reach the targeted recipient. Canada has donated $1 million per year to Afghanistan, 75% of which is spent for women in the form of micro-credit.
32. Answering two questions from Lev Hnatenko (UA) and Ms Cordy on the situation in Kandahar, Ms Verner acknowledged that Kandahar was a special province and development projects could not be implemented there like in other provinces of Afghanistan, since the security situation is much less stable. However, Ms Verner insisted that international assistance projects cannot ignore Kandahar completely and that they should follow the same approach, focusing on local ownership and empowerment of local populations.
VIII. Consideration of the draft Report of the Sub-Committee of Democratic Governance, Frameworks and Areas of Co-operation in the Black Sea Region [165 CDSDG 06 E] by Bert Middel (Netherlands), Rapporteur.
34. Ms Kalantzakou suggested several additions and amendments to the report on several points: oil and gas pipeline projects not mentioned in the report; the lack of recognition by the international community of the recent referendum in Transdnistria; a clearer recognition that each frozen conflict has its own specificities, which make it distinct from other conflicts. The Rapporteur agreed to these changes.
35. Serguey Ivanov (RU) regretted what he considered as accusations regarding Russia's foreign policy in the Black Sea region, reminding members that Russia participates in all major regional organisations. He lamented that the report is another example of the lack of confidence, which characterises relations between NATO and Russia. Mr Ivanov also opposed the way the report deals with tensions in Chechnya on an equal footing with frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus. Finally, he asked for clarification as to whether the report is calling for the accession of Black Sea countries to Euro-Atlantic institutions despite the non-resolution of frozen conflicts. In his response, the Rapporteur expressed concerns about Russia's use of energy as a political tool in the region, as well as its role in relation with frozen conflicts. He admitted that the situation in Chechnya is different from conflicts in the South Caucasus, but maintained that an examination of tensions in Chechnya belong in a report on the Black Sea. Finally, he acknowledged that the resolution of conflicts would facilitate the further development of relations with NATO and the EU, but that this was not an indispensable condition.
36. David Gamkrelidze (GE) lamented Russia's arbitrary use of natural gas as a tool of political pressure towards Georgia. He also denounced Russia's insufficient efforts in support of conflict resolution, calling instead for greater involvement by international organisations.
The draft report [165 CDSDG 06 E] was adopted by the Committee, with those amendments agreed to by the Rapporteur.
37. Mr Middel presented the main points of the draft Resolution. Additionally, the Rapporteur introduced an oral amendment to update paragraph 3 in order to take into account recent events. The new wording of paragraph 3 - "Welcoming also the signing by Georgia and the European Union of a European Neighbourhood Action Plan on 14 November 2006" - was adopted.
38. Eighteen amendments were submitted by delegations. Of these, the following amendments were:
39. Adopted: amendment 3 (Lellouche; Boutin) orally amended by the Rapporteur to modify paragraph 12 to read "Insisting that, given its role in the current negotiation formats, and its obligations under the UN Charter and the OSCE, the Russian Federation has a special responsibility to promote a peaceful resolution of these conflicts and should play a more constructive role"; amendment 6 (Rurua), orally amended by the Rapporteur to modify paragraph 2 to read "Welcoming NATO's decision to start an "Intensified Dialogue" with Georgia on its aspirations for membership"; amendment 9 (Rurua), orally amended upon suggestion of the Rapporteur to insert after sub-paragraph 14.b a new sub-paragraph to read "to support fully Georgia's aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration and its wish to move, in due course, to the next level of co-operation with NATO, namely the Membership Action Plan"; amendment 17 (Ozerov); amendment 18 (Ozerov) orally amended upon suggestion of the Rapporteur to add "and with UN Security Council Resolution 1716 dated 13 October 2006" at the end of paragraph 13.c.
40. Rejected: amendments 1, 2, 4 and 5 (Lellouche, Boutin); amendments 7 and 8 (Rurua); amendment 12 (Lamers; Herrmann; Ozerov), however, an oral amendment was accepted to replace the world "Welcoming" with the world "Acknowledging" at the beginning of paragraph 11; amendments 13, 14 and 16 (Ozerov).
41. Withdrawn: amendments 10 and 11 (Lamers, Hermann); amendment 15 (Ozerov), however an oral amendment was accepted to modify the end of paragraph 5 to read "following the arrest by Georgian authorities of four Russian officers and their release at the end of September 2006".
Following the vote on individual paragraphs, the draft Resolution [220 CDS 06 E], as amended, was adopted.
42. Mr Canas introduced the main points in the Resolution.
43. Two amendments were submitted. Amendment 1 (Lupoi) fell as the sponsor of the amendment was absent from the meeting room. Amendment 2 (Lamers, Herrmann) was adopted with an oral amendment by the Rapporteur to stop after the words "the regional situation".
The draft Resolution [195 CDS 06 E], as amended, was adopted.
44. The Chairman informed the Committee about past visits and future activities of the Committee and of the Assembly for 2007. The preliminary working programme of the Committee was adopted as follows:
45. John Stanley (UK) proposed a visit to the United States in the near future to address the issue of protection of critical infrastructures.
46. Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
Vice-Chairman Mark Angel (LU)
Sub-Committee on Democratic Governance
Vice-Chairman Jacek Wlosowicz (PL)
All re-eligible Committee and Sub-Committee Officers were re-elected.
47. The Chairman presented the draft Terms of Reference for the Committee, as proposed by the Working Group on Assembly Reform [186 SC 06 E] and asked for comments and suggestions.
48. Lord Jopling suggested that the Terms of Reference should refer not only to the "threat" of terrorism, but also to the measures to be taken in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. The Chairman agreed to put this amendment to the Standing Committee.
49. The Chairman thanked the Canadian delegation, the speakers, the interpreters, and the NATO PA staff and closed the meeting.