HomeMEDIA RESOURCES200414 November 2004 - PRESS COMMUNIQUE: SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES PARLIAMENTARIANS TO HELP ENSURE NATO’S POLITICAL INPUT MATCHES OPERATIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS
14 November 2004 - PRESS COMMUNIQUE: SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES PARLIAMENTARIANS TO HELP ENSURE NATO’S POLITICAL INPUT MATCHES OPERATIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS
VENICE, November 14 – NATO Secretary-General Mr Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has urged NATO parliamentarians to ensure the organisation continues to play a political role commensurate with its operational contributions as it seeks to meet the challenges of a radically different strategic landscape.
Addressing the 50th annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly this weekend, Mr de Hoop Scheffer said that NATO provided the basis for all on-going operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan, but that the political process in these regions was “largely carried forward by other actors.”
“To my mind, this is not a healthy division. NATO needs to be involved in the political process leading to a preferred ‘end state’. That more than anything else, will determine both the make-up and the duration of our military involvement,” Mr de Hoop Scheffer told an historic joint session of the North Atlantic Council – NATO’s policy-making body – and the Parliamentary Assembly.
The NATO PA brings together some 300 law makers from all 26 NATO countries and 13 associate nations, mainly from central and eastern Europe.
Mr de Hoop Scheffer arrived in Venice on Saturday after returning from the United States where he became the first senior international figure to meet President George Bush since his re-election earlier this month before holding talks in New York with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Mr de Hoop Scheffer said parliamentarians had a large role to play in bringing public opinion in member states along with NATO’s changing role and in fostering a “culture of debate” in which discussions “on the future of Kosovo, Afghanistan, and even Iraq are not exceptions but the rule.”
“This requires a culture in which Allies discuss fundamental security matters not just to reach consensus or take a decision, but in order to exchange views – even if the result may be to ‘agree to disagree’,” he said.