The Standing Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) – the Assembly’s governing body – met online for the second time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today, the Standing Committee took the painful but sensible decision to hold the 2020 Annual Session fully online rather than in person. We took this decision in close consultation with the Greek delegation to the NATO PA, which was prepared to host the Assembly in Athens in November,” said Assembly President Attila Mesterhazy (Hungary).
“Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to affect all our countries in ways which would make the holding of such a large international meeting risky and imprudent. The Standing Committee is fully confident that the Assembly can fulfil all of its 2020 core business online,” he underlined.
“On behalf of the Standing Committee, I want to thank the Head of the Greek delegation, Marietta Giannakou, and the Greek delegation and staff for all the efforts that have gone into preparing for our Annual Session. I know how committed Greece was to hosting the Assembly. We all deeply regret that we will not be able to meet in Athens in November, but I am happy that Greece will welcome the Standing Committee for its 2022 spring meeting.”
“Although we were fully prepared to host the Annual Session in Athens in November, we agree that it would be extremely risky to meet in person and that the prudent decision is for the Assembly to meet online. We are happy to welcome you all in Athens for the spring meeting of the Standing Committee in 2022. For this, I want to thank the Estonian delegation for their kind gesture,” said Head of the Greek delegation Marietta Giannakou. Estonia was supposed to host the spring meeting of the Standing Committee in 2022, but kindly agreed to host it in 2024 instead.
“At this critical time, it is essential that the Assembly continues to function normally. The transatlantic Alliance is faced with a range of challenges. These challenges have not disappeared in the face of the pandemic. Quite to the contrary: some actors may take advantage of the global crisis. The Alliance and the Assembly must remain ready for this. And we are,” stressed the President.
“Today, we had a wide-ranging exchange of views on crucial issues on the transatlantic security agenda.”
Among others, members of the Standing Committee discussed:
- the NATO 2030 initiative to prepare the Alliance for the next decade;
- the serious military hostilities surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh;
- the political crisis and ongoing violations of human rights in Belarus;
- the attempted assassination of Alexey Navalny and relations with Russia;
- the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean;
- the future of NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Standing Committee also discussed several matters of internal Assembly business.
The Standing Committee is composed of the leaders of the NATO PA’s 30 member delegations, members of the Bureau and the Chairpersons of the Assembly’s Committees and Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group. It is chaired by the Assembly President.