HomeMEDIA RESOURCES200328 May 2003, Prague - NATO – PA PRESIDENT CALLS ON NATO COUNTRIES TO HONOUR COMMITMENTS
28 May 2003, Prague - NATO – PA PRESIDENT CALLS ON NATO COUNTRIES TO HONOUR COMMITMENTS
PRESS COMMUNIQUE - Prague, May 28: Addressing the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) on the final session of its 5-day spring meeting in Prague today the President of the NATO PA Congressman Doug Bereuter (Rep. Nebraska) stressed the collective defence of the members of the North Atlantic Alliance must remain its primary purpose.
“We must remain committed to our common defence” said Bereuter.
In the course of his speech he referred to the effects on NATO and the transatlantic alliance of the Iraq crisis, but he said he felt that rather than a total transatlantic dispute it was also a dispute between some European countries and the countries which led the coalition in military action in Iraq.
He warned that there are significant and growing differences in attitude and perception between the United States and many of its NATO allies and that if left unaddressed it would “erode the solidarity and cohesion of the Alliance” which currently faced numerous threats to its peace and stability.
He welcomed the agreement within the UN Security Council last week to lift sanctions which would eventually allow Iraq to join the world economy. He said that “NATO’s support in Iraq, coupled with its growing role in Afghanistan, signals NATO’s willingness to take on out-of-area operations, and more importantly, its vital role in the global war on terrorism.”
He praised Alliance nations, and particularly France, for its willingness to participate in the NATO Response Force (NRF) which will aim at rapid deployment of Alliance forces to apply decisive power wherever they are needed.
Turning to Afghanistan, Bereuter said the NRF and commitments to enhance NATO’s capabilities, pledged at the NATO Prague summit in November 2002, “must be implemented very soon.”
“The NRF will give NATO a high-end expeditionary capability to perform all kinds of missions for peace, security, and stability in the future,” he said.
Referring to the threats posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and terrorist states, he declared that “no nation alone can adequately address these threats to our security. We need an international framework. In this effort Europe and the US must be partners and not rivals or counterweights.”