VARNA, 27 May 2011 - DEVELOPMENTS IN NORTH AFRICA, AFGHANISTAN, TOP THE AGENDA OF NATO PA SESSION
Speaking on the first day of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s spring session, Dr. Karl A. Lamers, President of the NATO PA, stressed the way popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East were changing the face of that region. The Assembly welcomed the region’s democratic aspirations and was ready to assist if requested, Dr. Karl A. Lamers told a press briefing in Varna. The Arab Spring will feature high on the agenda of three of the Assembly`s committees during the Assembly’s meeting.
NATO’s UN-mandated Operation Unified Protector in Lybia was very important to protect the civilian population from a brutal regime, he said. “There is a consensus among NATO countries to conduct this operation and I think we have to do everything to prevent mass violence” across the country, he said. The fact that this intervention had been supported by the Arab League and authorized by a UN Security Council resolution was essential, Dr Lamers stressed.
The session’s discussions would also focus on NATO`s mission in Afghanistan, which, Dr Lamers stated, “remains a critical issue for the Assembly”. “Our constituents are asking what we are doing in Afghanistan, and we need to explain to them that we are there to do everything we can to avoid that Afghanistan be used again for exporting terrorism”, he said, adding that “2011 is a pivotal year for the NATO mission”, as it implements its strategy of progressive transition to Afghan lead for security. Dr Lamers was hopeful that this process could be completed within the next 3 years. However, he stressed that even after the end of the military engagement, NATO nations would continue to assist
Pakistan’s role in relation to Afghanistan – particularly after the death of Osama Bin Laden – will also be discussed during the Assembly’s session. Other issues on the agenda include the implementation of the “
Dobroslav Dimitrov, head of the Bulgarian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, highlighted the themes most relevant to Bulgaria: missile defence, energy security, and the open door policy of the Alliance.
“Bulgaria has been playing a stabilising role in the region for more than 20 years and we think that we are a predictable and reliable partner of NATO and other allies,“ Dimitrov told nearly 50 journalists from Bulgarian and foreign media.
In the opening press conference of the Assembly’s spring session, Secretary General David Hobbs noted that about 250 parliamentarians from
“Members of Parliament are important decision-makers and decision-shapers. Most of the members of Parliament here for instance play important roles within their national defence or foreign affairs committees and they are responsible for voting defence budgets and authorising the use of their forces abroad“, he said.