HomeMEDIA RESOURCES2002NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY DISCUSSES PRAGUE SUMMIT
NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY DISCUSSES PRAGUE SUMMIT
Brussels, 5 October 2002 - The members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Standing Committee – the Assembly’s governing body consisting of the leaders of the 19 member delegations – are holding a special meeting on Sunday 6 October to consider a draft Declaration on NATO Transformation.
The Declaration is intended to provide NATO and NATO governments with the Assembly’s views on the full range of issues expected to feature at the NATO Heads of State and Government Summit in Prague, November 21 and 22. The goal is to provide NATO leaders with the views of parliamentarians while the Prague decisions are being shaped.
The Assembly’s President, Rafael ESTRELLA (Spain) who has prepared the Draft Declaration, said ahead of the meeting, “As representatives of parliamentary democracies and democratic values, it is essential that we make our views known on the decisions that will ensure NATO’s role in maintaining peace and stability, deterring aggression, and dealing directly with threats to the Alliance wherever they arise. Parliaments, after all, are most directly responsible to the public whose support is essential if the much-needed changes are going to succeed. Parliamentarians are also responsible for allocating financial resources and approving the deployment of forces. And most will also have to ratify the decision to invite new members to accede to the Washington [NATO] Treaty. We hope that our Declaration will provide governments with a timely indication of the collective parliamentary voice of the Alliance.”
A key focus is the Alliance’s adaptation to ensure that it can respond to the challenges in the “post 9/11” security environment.
Mr ESTRELLA said "At the end of the Cold War, the Alliance transformed itself rapidly and creatively to remain the centrepiece of Euro-Atlantic security. Following the atrocities of 9/11, the Alliance must again reinvent itself to meet the new challenges of the 21st Century.”
The wide-ranging draft Declaration suggests how NATO should change its priorities, internal organization and command structure to confront both WMD and terrorism. It also makes recommendations on NATO enlargement, relations with the European Union, and partner countries, notably Russia and Ukraine.
The Declaration calls for NATO’s forces and integrated command structure to be reformed so that they are more flexible and more mobile. It also calls upon nations to “increase substantially” the proportion of combat and support forces available for NATO-led missions.
Among many other recommendations are increased pooling of capabilities, specialization, and “multi-nationality” of forces, cutting waste and duplication in procurement, full co-operation between NATO and the EU, especially on the Petersberg tasks and crisis response operations, plus enhanced capabilities to protect troops and populations from chemical, biological, and other unconventional threats such as cyber warfare.
"What we are proposing is not going to be easy," Estrella said, "but it is really essential. Many of these proposals have been around for a while but now we have to move beyond rhetoric and muster the determination to carry them through."
After being amended and adopted by the Standing Committee, the Draft Declaration will be released on Monday 7 October. It will be considered further by the whole Assembly membership during its plenary meeting in Istanbul from 16-19 November.
Mr Estrella said, “It is unusual for the Standing Committee to produce a Declaration, but we felt very strongly that parliamentary opinions should be made known in good time for the Prague Summit.”
The full text of the revised NATO PA’s Draft Declaration on NATO TRANSFORMATION will be available here from Monday 7 October