12 and 13 November 2005 - SUMMARY of the meeting of the Defence and Security Committee [Folketinget, Copenhagen, Denmark]
A. GUEST SPEAKERS
1. Minister Hikmet Çetin, NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan provided an election update, a brief on the current political, security and socio-economic situation, and an evaluation of the post-war period and NATO's role. He said that the elections were successful and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is expected to have considerable support in the new parliament. It will be a parliament composed of various elements - not all of them desirable - but it will be representative of the country. Although progress has been made in strengthening state institutions and enhancing the security and prosperity of the Afghan people, there is much room for bolstering these efforts. The Provisional Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) will be essential, and NATO should continue to play a lead role. Minister Çetin emphasized that synergy is needed between ISAF and NATO, and PRTs should be standardized and expanded. He concluded by reminding the committee members that investing the necessary resources and time in Afghanistan is an essential contribution to their own security.
2. Helmut Rauber (DE) expressed concern about opium production in Afghanistan, and inquired about the current counter-narcotic efforts. Minister Çetin responded by stressing that Afghanistan cannot be stabilized without serious counter-narcotic efforts. US Ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland, emphasized the US support for expanding NATO operations in Afghanistan. She pointed out that Afghans are also in favour of a larger presence. She stated that Afghanistan is a test of NATO's military capability to deploy out of area and play a range of roles in stabilizing emerging democracies.
3. Esad Rahic (the FYR of Macedonia) noted that his country also confronts problems related to drug trafficking, and that concerted solutions are needed for this common problem. Victor Zavarzin (RU) affirmed that Russia will continue to contribute to the development of Afghanistan. He stressed the need to combine and accelerate efforts to counter drug trafficking. Russia and the United States are sharing intelligence, and Russia is happy to continue this cooperation. In response, Minister Çetin stressed the importance of improving the capability of the Afghanistan's police force. Sixty percent of the force is illiterate, and Afghan National Army personnel are paid considerably more than the police.
4. Jeff Sessions (US) emphasized that economic growth is the key to success in Afghanistan, but military contributions remain crucial to securing some regions and cementing the progress made so far. National caveats are a serious problem in this regard, especially if they prevent national contingents from playing an active military role as NATO forces move to the south of Afghanistan.
5. Ambassador Kai Eide, former Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to Kosovo and Permanent Representative of Norway to NATO, discussed the findings of his recent report on the situation in Kosovo. He expressed grave concerns about the protection of minority rights in Kosovo and noted the mixed record of institutional development in the region. The judicial system, law enforcement and the protection of property rights are the most seriously flawed.
6. Despite insufficient progress, he affirmed that status talks must move ahead. The political process that started last year established expectations - waiting will not improve the situation. The international community should demonstrate patience as the status talks move ahead. The EU should have the main responsibility, rather than the UN, because of its regional leadership position. It should not, however, control the military presence. The United States must remain politically and militarily engaged as it enjoys the confidence of the population. As talks on status move ahead, however, standards must not be forgotten.
7. Angelika Beer (European Parliament) expressed concern about the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) and criticized the UN mission's performance. She questioned the possibility of a mutually acceptable solution. Esad Rahic underlined Kosovo's economic troubles and the ineffectiveness of aid delivered so far. He said that Kosovo's political leaders refused to engage in border negotiations because there is no status agreement. Ambassador Eide shared his concern that this problem could become entrenched if tensions escalate during the negotiations.
8. Andreas Loverdos (GR) asked Ambassador Eide to elaborate on the expression often heard in Serbia that Kosovo should be granted "more than autonomy but less than independence." Ambassador Eide cautioned against demanding details about proposed solutions now because it could push both sides into inflexible positions. Regarding independence, Ambassador Eide argued that it is not impossible but the precedent it sets will create a very dangerous situation in the region.
9. Jorge Neto (PT) expressed concern about Serb national pride and historical memory being a huge barrier to solving the Kosovo problem, and criticized the Serb formula of "more than autonomy but less than independence" as diplomatically acceptable way of saying no to independence.
10. Ioan Pascu (RO) commented that Kosovo is a zero-sum problem because it is hard to convince either side that they will be satisfied with a compromise solution. Victor Zavarzin welcomed Ambassador Eide's remarks, which placed a high value on the cohesion of the Contact Group. He argued that the UN, rather than the EU, should play a lead role in Kosovo during the implementation phase of the agreement. He asserted that Kosovo should not be recognized as an independent state as this would set a dangerous precedent.
11. Robert Bell, Senior Vice-President of SAIC, discussed some of the issues surrounding NATO common budgets. NATO has three common budgets - the Military Budget, Security Investment Programme, and the Civil Budget. NATO common funding is 0,3´% of total defence spending of the 26 NATO Allies. He elaborated on several proposals under discussion and was supportive of the committee resolution on common funding.
12. General Hans Jesper Helsø, Chief of Defence of Denmark, spoke on the deployments and transformation of the Danish Armed Forces. Denmark's main deployments are to Kosovo, Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Those deployments demonstrate the range of Denmark's capabilities from peacekeeping to combat operations. Transformation of the Danish military started from a blank slate and had to overcome some initial resistance from the military. Denmark decided against building specialized forces because it wants to retain the ability to deploy independently. After one and a half years of discussion, Denmark's military transformation is now in the implementation phase and it has doubled the size of the force it can deploy at any one time.
13. Frank Cook (UK) ask about the political commitment in Denmark to sustain the transformation of its military. Willem Hoekzema (NL) inquired about Denmark's position on national caveats. Thomas Kossendey (DE) asked about the use of outsourcing in the Danish military. General Helsø replied that all political parties agree on the direction of the military transformation project so it is unlikely to be changed. He also noted that national caveats are the result of political, not military considerations. General Helsø was skeptical about the use of outsourcing as a way to reduce costs.
14. Dick Zandee, Head of Planning and Policy at the European Defence Agency (EDA) presented an overview of the EDA. The EDA concept is to build coherence among European experts, industries and militaries on defence planning issues; serve as catalysts for change, reform and restructure; and act as an instrument of political will. It seeks to eliminate duplication and facilitate coordination of efforts. This year the EDA had two notable accomplishments. It developed a code of conduct for the use of so-called "296 exclusions" invoked by member states to protect national defence industries. It also helped to coordinate the airlift capabilities enhancement process. In the coming year, the EDA plans to focus on air and sealift capabilities.
15. Ana Maria Gomes (European Parliament) applauded EDA's role and progress thus far, emphasizing the European Parliament's agreement with the EDA mission. She supported the code of conduct formulated by the EDA and recommended that it become legally binding. Tiny Kox (NL) expressed concern about the extent to which EDA is fostering a European competitor to NATO. Mr Zandee replied that the intention is to build needed capabilities and that this will help both the EU and NATO.
16. In his presentation of the draft General Report NATO's Out of Areas Operations, General Rapporteur Julio Miranda-Calha (PT) focused on two key issues- national caveats and common funding. He also noted the progress made in stabilizing Afghanistan, but he also cautioned that it would require a sustained commitment for many years to ensure that this progress is entrenched.
17. Tiny Kox expressed his concern about the dangers of making Afghanistan a test case for the Alliance. Jean-Guy Branger (FR) commented on the importance of reinforcing the synergy of ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), while also pointing out the importance of distinguishing between the two operations. He argued against NATO taking on more of a combat role Afghanistan, and deemed national caveats unavoidable. He was also concerned about the modalities of increasing common funding and the danger that it could be seen as a way for some members to avoid their national responsibilities. Winfried Nachtwei (DE) noted Germany's recent decision to continue contributing to OEF. He said that NATO and ISAF operations were both necessary and dependant on each other.
18. Sven Mikser (EE) praised the logic of the common funding proposal, but said it would hinder NATO's ability to operate by making consensus more difficult. Jeff Sessions proposed that members of the Alliance consider eliminating national caveats. Kresimir Cosic (HR) expressed his concern over the demand for heroin in Europe that fuels the production of drugs in Afghanistan. He proposed confronting the problem on both the supply and demand sides by strengthening border control and surveillance mechanisms, while at the same time minimizing production.
19. The draft General Report [168 DSC 05 E] was adopted.
20. Ellen Tauscher (US) introduced the draft Report, Progress on the Prague Capabilities Commitment by John Shimkus (US). Much of the concern over the PCC is driven by the gap in capabilities between the United States and other members of the Alliance, but there is some evidence that European capabilities are improving. Much progress has been made in strategic lift, with fifteen NATO countries involved in upgrading their airlift capabilities. She also highlighted a transatlantic project that enhances ground surveillance capabilities. Progress was also mentioned on improving Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR). Reform of defence spending is needed. She criticized members of the alliance for spending too much on personnel and not enough on equipment, training and research. She urged member countries to find ways to better use existing financial resources through specialization, better cooperation and more pooling of resources.
20. The draft Report [170 DSCTC 05 E] was adopted.
21. Vahit Erdem (TR) Chairman of the Subcommittee on Future Security And Defence Capabilities presented the draft Report, NATO's Ongoing Role in Balkan Security. He emphasized the importance of the region to European security and stressed the importance of moving forward on negotiations on the status of Kosovo. At the same time he also criticized the lack of progress on many issues in Kosovo and reminded members of the need for continued engagement.
22. Andreas Loverdos requested several changes be made to the report. Many of those changes referred to substituting the "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" for "the FYR of Macedonia used in the report. In response, Vahit Erdem noted that "the FYR of Macedonia*" was adopted by the Standing Committee for use in NATO Parliamentary Assembly documents and that he would continue to use that construction. Esad Rahic submitted in writing several suggested changes to the report. Vahit Erdem took the suggestions under consideration and will incorporate them as is appropriate.
23. The draft Report [169 DSCFC 05 E] was adopted with the changes agreed to by the Rapporteur.
24. Julio Miranda-Calha introduced two draft Resolutions for the consideration of the committee. The first urged member countries to minimize the use of national caveats, especially undeclared caveats.
The draft Resolution [194 DSC 05 E] was adopted overwhelmingly but not unanimously without amendment.
25. The second draft Resolution on Enhanced Common Funding for NATO operations generated more discussion. Gerd Höfer (DE) submitted several amendments for consideration. The Rapporteur accepted a few; the remainder were voted on and not adopted by the Committee.
The draft amended Resolution [195 DSC 05 E] was adopted overwhelmingly but not unanimously.
26. Three new vice-presidents of the committee were elected: Joseph A. Day (Canada), Maria Rosario Juaneda (Spain) and Furio Gubetti (Italy).
Yani Yanev (Bulgaria) and Antonio Mereu (Italy) were elected vice-presidents of the Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Defence and Security Cooperation.
Jorge Neto (Portugal) was elected vice-president of the Sub-Committee on Future Security and Defence Capabilities.
Frank Cook (United Kingdom) was elected Rapporteur of the Sub-Committee on Future Security and Defence Capabilities.
Jean-Guy Branger (France) was elected to the Ukraine-NATO Interparliamentary Council.
* Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.